Sharks host Flames in key Pacific clash

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( - The San Jose Sharks will try to hold off Calgary both in the standings and on the ice Monday evening as they host the Flames in a matchup of Pacific Division rivals.

The Sharks have lost three of their past four games, dropping them 12 points behind the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the division. They also are a mere two points ahead of both Calgary and the Vancouver Canucks for second place in the Pacific.

The Flames are currently holding the second of two wild card spots in the Western Conference as they have played two more games than the Canucks to give Vancouver the current tiebreaker.

Despite a rally early in the third period, the Sharks dropped a 5-4 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture scored 1:22 apart in the frame to tie the contest at 3-3, but Carolina went back in front for good on a goal with 4:51 to play.

Hertl ended with two goals and an assist, Patrick Marleau had a goal and a helper and Antti Niemi yielded four goals on 29 shots faced.

"We weren't very sharp in the first two (periods), but came alive in the third," said Couture.

The Flames also hope to rebound tonight as they had a three-game winning streak halted with a 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. It was only Calgary's third setback in its past 11 games as it failed to get any of its 21 shots past Pens goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Jonas Hiller allowed all four goals on 24 shots for the Flames, while Karri Ramo stopped six shots after coming into the game a little over five minutes into the third period.

"We can always learn. Sunday morning, before practice we're going to revisit a few clips in the video like we always do," said Calgary head coach Bob Hartley. "We have the same mindset after a win. Once the game is over you can learn, but you can't replay it."

The Flames are expected to have forward Curtis Glencross back in the lineup tonight after he was activated from injured reserve over the weekend. Glencross, who has eight goals and 26 points in 44 games this season, had missed the previous nine games with a lower-body injury.

Tonight is the fifth and final meeting of the regular season between the Flames and the Sharks. Calgary has won five of the past six encounters overall, including two straight in San Jose.

Jiri Hudler is pacing the Flames in scoring versus the Sharks this season, notching four goals and an assist in the four games.

Niemi is an excellent 13-3-2 lifetime versus the Flames with a 2.20 goals against average and .912 save percentage in 18 games (17 starts), while Hiller is 9-10-2 against the Sharks with a 2.26 GAA, .930 save percentage and two shutouts in 22 meetings.