CALGARY, Alberta — The contest played Jan. 29 will be the only one this year in which Johnny Gaudreau will enjoy being around Brent Burns.
On Tuesday, the two were among those named as Pacific Division representatives for the upcoming NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles.
First, though, Burns and the talent-laden San Jose Sharks will try to stymie the Flames star when the teams square off Wednesday night in Calgary.
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“Last year I was excited to play with Brent Burns,” Gaudreau said Tuesday afternoon. “He’s kind of a funny guy, and he kept it pretty funny in the locker room. So I’m excited to see him.”
Gaudreau was the lone member of the Flames named to the All-Star squad. Burns, who may be headed to his first Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, will be joined by Sharks right winger Joe Pavelski, goaltender Martin Jones and head coach Peter DeBoer.
It will be the first All-Star appearances for DeBoer and Jones, who worked his way up to the status of star after going undrafted out of the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League and was traded by both the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins, landing in San Jose for the 2015-16 season.
“Obviously (Pavelski) and (Burns) are givens. I’m glad Marty Jones got rewarded,” DeBoer told the Bay Area News Group. “It’s a great story as far as the way he’s come up and not been handed anything and worked for everything he’s got. Now he’s established himself. I’m very happy for him.”
Wednesday’s meeting will give the Flames a chance to see where they stand against an elite conference team. Calgary is coming off a weak effort in a 2-0 road loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
Flames goalie Chad Johnson spoke after that defeat about how Calgary needs to come up with better efforts against better teams, such as San Jose.
“Teams that are right around you are a little different than the Phoenixes and Colorados,” he said. “I think we are being tested. We have to respond to these tougher teams who are pushing a bit more than the Phoenixes and Colorados.
“That’s where we are at — we have to push a bit more and give a little bit more and trust ourselves and each other.”
San Jose comes to Calgary fresh off a 5-3 win over the Oilers in Edmonton on Tuesday. Mikkel Boedker led the way with his fourth career hat trick, Burns had a goal — his 16th to lead all NHL defenseman– and two assists, and Jones made 33 saves for his 21st victory in 36 games on his 27th birthday.
The Sharks (25-14-2) top the Pacific Division behind DeBoer, who led them to the Stanley Cup finals last season in his first year behind the San Jose bench. The win over Edmonton give the Sharks five victories in their past seven road games and an overall road record of 11-9-1.
The Flames (22-19-2) are 11-10-0 in the Saddledome.