#58 Calgary Flamesvs.#57 San Jose Sharks
Written by Valdis Pans
San Jose Sharks (24-14-2-0) vs. Calgary Flames (22-19-1-1)
When: 9:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
Lines: San Jose -110/Calgary -110
After a painful loss in Winnipeg, the Calgary Flames (4th in Pacific Division) embark on a mini 4-game homestand, with the San Jose Sharks (1st in Pacific) visiting them in their second contest of a back-to-back trip around Alberta…
The San Jose Sharks (24-14-2) are heading into a back-to-back trip around Alberta, meeting the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, with a matchup against the Calgary Flames all set up just 24 hours later. And the Men of Teal have some big numbers to be proud of just before those outings. Firstly, the Sharks finally became the very last team to score more than four goals this season, ripping the Detroit Red Wings apart at SAP Center on Saturday with a final score of 6-3. Furthermore, captain Joe Pavelski (15 goals, 37 points for the season) got on the score-sheet twice during the night, becoming just the third member of San Jose Sharks to reach 600 NHL points, joining Patrick Marleau (12 goals, 19 points this year) and Joe Thornton (2 goals, 26 points) in doing so.
The Sharks are still missing defensemen David Schlemko (1 goal, 8 points) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (3 goals, 9 points), having conceded 13 goals in the four games without Vlasic alone (that’s 3.25 per contest compared to their usual yield of 2.25 conceded goals per game). Having said that, they have also scored a total of 13 goals in their past four outings before Tuesday, vastly improving on their season average of 2.58 goals per game. Goalie Martin Jones, meanwhile, ranked joint 3rd in most wins in the league amongst netminders, having gone 20-13-2 for the year before the game against Edmonton with a 2.21 GAA. He is 5-2-0 against Calgary after past meetings with a 2.52 career GAA.
Prior to Monday’s 2-0 blank defeat to the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre, the Calgary Flames (22-19-2) had three victories in their past four games and were 5-2-0 in their last seven outings. It was the first time since the 5-0 defeat to Los Angeles on Nov. 5 the Flames were left without any goals on the score-sheet and was truly a painful loss with too many giveaways and turnovers, which didn’t help in a contest, during which Calgary actually managed to outshoot the Jets 28-27. Kris Versteeg (7 goals, 18 points for the year) and Michael Frolik (10 goals, 24 points) got the most shots on goal (4 each). Mikael Backlund, meanwhile, still leads the team in goals (12) and points (27), with Johnny Gaudreau having collected 27 points as well with 10 goals for the season.
Chad Johnson made 25 saves and has now cruised 14-9-1 for the current term with a 2.27 GAA. He is 2-1-1 against San Jose in the past meetings with a 2.22 GAA. Brian Elliott, who could get the nod in the net ahead of Johnson against the Sharks, meanwhile, is 8-10-1 for the year with a 2.95 GAA and 5-3-1 versus San Jose with a 2.58 career GAA. The Flames are 15th in the league with 46 points from 43 contests and have a dodgy 11-10-0 home record. They are scoring the 13th lowest number of goals per game (2.60), conceding the 14th highest amount in their defensive zone (2.74). Calgary ranks 12th in power play with a decent 20.3% turnaround and has the 15th best penalty kill with 82.0% effectiveness.
Calgary is not a team that has allowed a lot of goals lately (just 10 in their last 5 outings; 2.00 per game). San Jose is not a team that scores a lot, despite surging in markers lately. Having said that, the Sharks will still be missing one third of their defensive backbone, so they will not be shutting out anybody. They will, however, probably net more than Calgary. It smells like an odd Over in this one for two teams that normally don’t go in that direction…
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Valdis got his first ever article published when he was 13, and has rarely stopped. He has worked for FHM, MTV Baltics and has done loads of freelance (from columns for Cosmopolitan magazine to helping with organization of Macy Gray’s shows in the Northern Europe). Speaks five different languages, loves pizza, American Horror Story and pipe organ music, and knows European soccer better than dates of his family members’ birthdays. Is an avid fan of ice-hockey too. He is a Latvian after all...