San Jose’s Joe Pavelski leads the Western Conference with 11 power-play goals, but he may not get a chance to add to that total against the disciplined Calgary Flames.
Winners of two straight, the Flames will try to become the first team in 25 years to go three consecutive games without being short-handed Saturday night in San Jose.
After being short-handed once in a 6-5 loss to Florida last Friday, Calgary (23-18-3) stayed out of the box except for matching fighting penalties in a 1-0 win in Vancouver the next night. On Thursday in Arizona, the Flames stayed out of the penalty box entirely in a 4-3 victory.
"We can’t give teams opportunities on the power play, especially on this road swing," said left wing Lance Bouma, who has five assists in the last three games. "We’re going to make sure we’re doing the right things and not taking stupid penalties."
This is only the ninth time since 1989-90 a team has gone back-to-back games without allowing an opposing power play, and no team in that span has done it in three consecutive contests.
Not having to play a man down has made things easier for goaltender Joni Ortio, who may get a third consecutive start in goal given his recent success.
Ortio appeared in nine games as a rookie in 2013-14, and stopped 36 shots for his first career shutout in his season debut against the Canucks. The 23-year-old made 27 saves against the Coyotes and appears to be Calgary’s best option in goal.
Karri Ramo is close to returning from injury but is 0-3-0 with a 4.06 goals-against average in his last four starts, while Jonas Hiller has a 4.16 GAA in losing all three starts this month.
The Flames have lost seven of nine in San Jose, but won 2-0 on Nov. 26 in the season’s first matchup. The Sharks (24-16-5) won 3-2 in Calgary just over a week later on Patrick Marleau’s tiebreaking goal in the third.
Marleau went the next 16 games without a goal before scoring in Thursday’s 3-1 win over Toronto, the opener of a season-high seven-game homestand.
"It’s important to get (wins) anywhere," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "But it has been a while since we’ve won (at home), and we know what’s ahead of us, the stretch that we’re going to face."
Antti Niemi stopped 24 shots for a seventh win in his last nine home starts. He has allowed two goals or less in four of his last five games and is 5-1-0 with a 1.67 GAA against Calgary since 2012-13.
The Flames, whose five-game road swing leads into the All-Star break, are seeking their first four-game road winning streak since reeling off six in a row Feb. 12-March 5, 2009.
Mikael Backlund scored in a fourth straight game Thursday, and the Flames added three more goals in the third period to seal the victory.
The late scoring binge is nothing new for Calgary, which had 13 shots on goal in the third period after totaling 12 in the first two.
The Flames have the NHL’s best third-period goal differential, outscoring opponents 54-29. They have one of the league’s worst marks in both first-period and second-period goal differentials at minus-10 and minus-eight, respectively.
"Our conditioning has something do with it. Just the way we work and apply pressure all night long," Bouma said. "We play the same way if we’re down or we’re up. We got to make sure we play that way if we’re going to have success."