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Sharks-Flames Preview

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The San Jose Sharks' push for the Pacific Division lead stalled as they struggled somewhat offensively in their first defeat in four games.

They've had little trouble scoring against Calgary this season and will look to bounce back Monday night when they visit a Flames team coming off its first win in two weeks.

A quirky portion of the schedule had the Sharks (35-23-6) facing Vancouver three times over a seven-day stretch. While they totaled seven goals in the first two, they lost 4-2 on Saturday.

Brent Burns tied it at 2 early in the third with his career-high 23rd goal but San Jose came up empty on its other 15 shots in the final period.

The Sharks remained four points behind second-place Los Angeles and dropped six back of Pacific-leading Anaheim.

San Jose, which also scored six in last Monday's win over Montreal, has a prime opportunity to rediscover its offensive prowess against a Flames team tied with Arizona for the league's worst goals-against average at 3.12.

The Sharks have played a big part in Calgary's defensive struggles, scoring five times in three of four meetings this season. Their 17 goals versus the Flames are their most against them in a season since scoring 24 in six meetings in 1997-98.

Logan Couture has two goals and four assists in the season series while Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton each have two and three.

Calgary (27-34-4) had been a mess defensively, yielding at least five goals three times in a four-game stretch before Saturday's 4-2 win at Pittsburgh that snapped a seven-game losing streak.

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Mikael Backlund scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and Lance Bouma added another in the third for the Flames, who dropped 10 of their previous 11.

"You lose as many games as we have in the last while and it's tough to keep that positive attitude,'' center Joe Colborne said. ''It's definitely going to be a bit more fun that it has been lately.''

The de facto No. 1 goaltender after Karri Ramo's season-ending injury, Jonas Hiller certainly hasn't been having much recently in posting a 4.71 GAA while losing his last three starts. He gave up five goals in his only start against San Jose this season Nov. 28, then stopped all eight shots faced upon relieving Ramo after he suffered his knee injury in the last matchup with the Sharks, a 6-5 Flames shootout win Feb. 11.

Joni Ortio got the start against the Penguins and made 29 saves for his first victory in 10 games this season.

The Sharks also went with their backup goalie in their last game and didn't do James Reimer any favors in his team debut. They gave up a season high-tying seven power-play chances after taking five penalties in their previous four games. The Canucks scored three times with the extra skater.

''We got that first goal and then we started to take a lot of penalties,'' captain Joe Pavelski said. ''A lot of soft ones, too. It was everybody. It was one of those nights that we couldn't stay out of the box.''

The Sharks have had similar problems against the Flames this season, allowing six power-play goals on 19 opportunities. However, they've also been stellar with the man advantage, converting seven of 15 chances.

Set to open a season-high six-game homestand, Calgary has been plenty vulnerable when playing with a manpower disadvantage. It has allowed a league-worst 19 power-play goals since Feb. 9, killing 67.8 percent of penalties.

Martin Jones, who has posted a 1.67 GAA in winning his last three starts, is 3-1-0 lifetime against Calgary despite a 3.25 GAA.