Flames-Sharks Preview

Having received some encouraging news concerning a frightening
injury, the San Jose Sharks will try to rebound from their first
loss by extending their run at home.

The Calgary Flames stand in their way as they hope to avoid
dropping the first two stops on a five-game road trip.

The Sharks look for their 11th consecutive home win Saturday
night while also continuing their success there against the
Flames.

Perhaps distracted somewhat in its first game since the injury
to defenseman Dan Boyle two nights earlier, San Jose (6-0-1) fell
one victory shy of tying the best start in team history with a 4-3
shootout loss at Dallas on Thursday.

“This is our first game where guys didn’t have it,” center Logan
Couture said. “We tried to battle through it and just came up
short.”

According to reports, Boyle is feeling better and not
experiencing headaches after getting checked from behind into the
boards and taken off on a stretcher in Tuesday’s 6-2 win at St.
Louis. Boyle did not play Thursday and is day-to-day.

The Sharks, who remain the only NHL team without a regulation
defeat, can breath a little easier as they return home looking to
open 5-0 there for the second season in a row. They’ve outscored
opponents 38-16 during their run at the SAP Center, including five
straight victories in the 2013 playoffs.

Couture has shined at home with seven goals and 14 points during
the streak, while Joe Pavelski has five goals and a team-best 15
points. Rookie center Tomas Hertl has scored all of his
team-leading seven goals at home this season.

Pavelski also has nine goals and 19 points in his last 12 at
home against the Flames (3-1-2), including the 2008 playoffs.

Patrick Marleau looks to score in his fifth straight contest for
the Sharks, who lead the NHL with a plus-114 shot differential but
had two fewer than the Stars in regulation.

They’ll try to bounce back against Calgary backup Karri Ramo,
who will be making his first appearance since stopping 35 of 39
shots in a 5-4 shootout loss in Washington on Oct. 3.

“Always when you play, it’s exciting,” Ramo told the team’s
official website. “I just have to make sure that I keep doing my
own thing.”

The Sharks seek their sixth win in seven home meetings with the
Flames, who go for their first victory on this difficult trip
following a 3-2 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday.

While its 3-0-2 start was the franchise’s best since the Atlanta
Flames opened 10-0 with two ties in 1978-79, Calgary could have its
hands full with visits to Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas after
taking on the Sharks.

The Flames may have to be more efficient offensively after
managing two goals on 35 shots against the Ducks. Jiri Hudler
scored one of those goals to give him a point in each contest this
season.

Including postseason games, Hudler only has one point in his
last 13 meetings with the Sharks.

Calgary is likely to face Antti Niemi, who has started each game
this season and owns a 1.70 goals-against average. Niemi has also
started every game during the home win streak, posting a 1.56 GAA
and .937 save percentage, and he’s 5-1-0 with a 2.15 GAA in six
career starts there against the Flames.