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.