Posted March 13, 2012 on
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Ten points separated the Calgary Flames from the San Jose Sharks at the beginning of February, though Calgary's recent surge has coincided with San Jose's swoon to close the gap.
The Flames host the Sharks in a crucial Western Conference matchup Tuesday night with both teams looking to get back into the playoff picture.
Calgary (32-25-12) has won three straight games including Sunday's 4-3 victory over Minnesota, and has earned at least a point in 15 of 18 contests since Feb. 3. The Flames are currently 10th in the West, two points behind eighth-place Colorado.
San Jose, meanwhile, has gone 5-11-3 since Feb. 3, dropping out of first place in the Pacific Division and all the way down to ninth in the conference, one point ahead of Calgary.
The Sharks (34-25-9) were able to halt a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win at Edmonton on Monday, but the concern of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2003 remains.
Calgary coach Brent Sutter said he's aware of how the other teams in the crowded playoff chase have performed recently, though he said his club needs to keep the focus on itself.
"The only thing you can do is worry about yourselves and take care of what you need to do," Sutter said. "You will get some help along the way because teams do play each other, but your focus has to be yourself and not get caught up in where you are in the standings right now."
A regulation victory over the Sharks would not only move the Flames - who haven't won a playoff series since reaching the Stanley Cup finals in 2004 - into a tie for one of the final postseason spots, but also would put San Jose in their rear view mirror for the time being.
Curtis Glencross has been a major reason for Calgary's surge, scoring a goal for the seventh straight game Sunday. That streak is the longest in the NHL this season, and he also has three assists in that stretch.
"He's making the best of the opportunities he's getting," Sutter said. "He's contributing offensively, but he's doing other things for us too that are very important. He's been a solid all-around player for us."
Logan Couture helped provide a much-needed spark for San Jose on Monday, scoring the tiebreaking goal in the third period. Joe Thornton added an assist for the Sharks, who had lost eight of their previous nine road games.
"We needed this really bad," Thornton said. "We're struggling right now and to come in here and get a big win, every game is so important for us. The playoffs have already started for us. It was just a huge two points for us.
"Hopefully this gives some guys some confidence."
Couture scored and Thornton added two assists in the most recent meeting with the Flames on Jan. 8 at San Jose, but Olli Jokinen's hat trick and Jarome Iginla's goal and assist helped Calgary win, ending a five-game skid in the series.
Iginla and Jokinen also scored Sunday, and Iginla has six goals and five assists during a six-game point streak.
Including postseason, Thornton has only three assists in his last eight games at Calgary.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross scored a goal in his seventh consecutive game Sunday.
Glencross made it count, netting the go-ahead tally in the Flames' 4-2 win at Minnesota.
It was his career-high 25th goal despite missing a month with a knee injury.
The 29-year-old Glencross also had an assist Sunday, giving him 43 points to tie his career high set last season.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBAYAREA, The Sharks have just 12 goals since the trade, or 1.50 per game. Compare that to the eight previous games with McGinn still in the lineup, and San Jose had 24, or 3.0 per game.
Simply put, this is a team that, as it stands right now, doesn’t have enough scorers. If it misses the postseason tournament for the first time since 2003, the McGinn trade...
from David Pollak of the Mercury News, The Sharks are in unfamiliar territory. Their 75 points are fewer than any Sharks team has accumulated in 67 games since Wilson took over in 2003. A year ago at this point the team had 84 points; two years ago, 96.
The Sharks have had to deal with injuries to top players such as Logan Couture, Ryane Clowe and Douglas Murray during the stretch...
The Calgary Flames extended their current winning streak to three games today, with a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild. The win moves the Flames into an eighth-place tie with Colorado for the final playoff spot.
But can they maintain this pace the rest of the way and earn a playoff berth for the first time in four years?
My guess is no.
Of the 16 teams currently in a...
“I’m excited about the fight with Kennedy. I think he’s highly underrated, very tough dude, he poses a lot of challenges. I’ll be ready. It looks like it’s finally going to happen. I’ve been waiting for that one for a long time, and I’m excited. I’m getting on my wrestling, I was wrestling yesterday. Wrestling’s [...]
Jarome Iginla scored early and set up Curtis Glencross' go-ahead goal late with a botched shot that became a pass, and the Calgary Flames hung on to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Sunday for their third straight victory.
Glencross has a goal in seven straight games for the Flames, who moved into a tie for eighth place with the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference with...
While the San Jose Sharks are on the outside, looking in, at the 9th seed with 77 points — one below the 8th Colorado Avalanche – one may ask GM Doug Wilson, was it all worth it?
Dany Heatley, right, and Devin Setoguchi have proven to be assets for the Wild this season. Would they have made a difference with San Jose this year?
Were the rebuilding deals he made during...
The San Jose Sharks have broken their five game losing streak with a win over the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 backed by two power play goals.
It was a huge two points for the Sharks who are fighting for their playoff lives with Colorado, LA, Phoenix, and Calgary who they face-off against tomorrow night.
This was a game where the Sharks won more battles than they lost and had good energy led by...
With their win last night against the Wild, their third in a row, the Calgary Flames were able to jump into the eighth and final playoff seed as of this morning. It's a position they briefly held a couple of weeks ago, only to falter when they appeared to have the opportunity to solidify their hold by dropping four straight games at home in which they actually led in every game...
The Sharks came away with one point in Calgary after Matt Stajan scored in overtime with 0:40 seconds remaining in a 3-2 win to end the Sharks four game road trip.
âOne is better than noneâ quipped Todd McLellan after the game âbut thatâs not what our goal was. I thought we played well enough to get two but weâre not going home with them.â
Back in March of 2010, the Sharks were trying to snap their worst losing streak in 13 years. They had lost five in a row and were preparing to face the Oilers. They lost that game.
“We’re not going to wake up tomorrow morning and say ‘Oh, we’re going to play better’....We need to get that belief back.” -Rob Blake, March 22, 2010 (archived article, Merc News)
It has been a disastrous last month for the San Jose Sharks, who are tumbling down the Western Conference standings.
The lowly Edmonton Oilers have already contributed to their woes.
The Sharks, the NHL's only winless team in March, again try to break out of their funk and avenge last week's home loss to the Oilers on Monday night at Rexall Place.
San Jose (33-25-9) has...
Tonight won't be remembered as another Oilers loss to the San Jose Sharks. Nope.
Instead, tonight will be remembered as the point where the pot boiled over. The Coach, the players...THE TEAM...has finally figured out there is something seriously wrong.
A few quotes from the post-game, via Twitter:
Tom Renney: "Doesn't take many for wrong approach, the wrong...
Yes!YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! 9th never tasted so good!Ok, ok, I know, it's really nothing to be excited over. The Sharks are still out of the top 8 spots in the West and they still have a helluva hill to climb if they want to make it back in, and STAY back in playoff contention, but they HAD to get this win. There's not time to fart around anymore. You win, or the season ends, and...