The San Jose Sharks have been the victims of stellar goaltending performances in back-to-back contests despite solid play from their own netminders.
While goaltending has been an issue for the Calgary Flames in their last two games, they’ve provided enough offense to establish a season-best winning streak.
Visiting San Jose looks to end its scoring drought while dealing Calgary its first loss in four games Thursday night.
The Sharks (34-14-6) headed into Monday’s contest against Los Angeles on a six-game winning streak, but Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped all 23 shots to deal San Jose a 1-0 defeat.
It got even worse Wednesday, as the Sharks put 59 shots on Edmonton goalie Ben Scrivens but came up empty in a 3-0 loss. Scrivens’ performance set an NHL regular-season record for most saves in a shutout.
"We attempted 100 shots on goal. How often does that happen?" coach Todd McLellan asked sarcastically. "We felt that if we could get one (goal) that more would come. The problem with that theory is that the one never came."
Antti Niemi, who was 5-1-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average in his previous six starts, made 24 saves two nights after backup Alex Stalock stopped 20 of 21 shots against Los Angeles.
"You have to put it behind you," forward Patrick Marleau said. "I’m sure there’s going to be some video that shows us what we could have done differently."
Joe Pavelski scored twice in a 3-2 win over Calgary on Jan. 20 for San Jose’s fourth consecutive victory in the series, but the Flames have won three straight since to get their five-game homestand off to a solid start.
Calgary (19-27-7) beat Nashville 5-4 in a shootout Friday before defeating Chicago by the same score in overtime Tuesday. Reto Berra relieved starter Karri Ramo six minutes into the second period against the Predators, then Ramo replaced Berra to begin the third against the Blackhawks.
Mikael Backlund scored twice and Lee Stempniak had three assists against Chicago. Ramo, who made 24 saves against the Sharks in the last meeting, will be in net Thursday.
"There have been so many times where we haven’t supported our goalies enough," forward Joe Colborne told the team’s official website. "It’s nice to return the favor a little bit and get them some goal support."
Colborne had been playing wing on a line with T.J. Galiardi and rookie Sean Monahan, but he will center Brian McGrattan and Kevin Westgarth with Mike Cammalleri expecting to return from an eight-game absence due to a concussion.
"I’m excited to play," Cammalleri said. "I’m just excited to get back with the boys here. The guys are playing well. It’s fun to be a part of it. It’s been fun watching the guys do well."
Coach Bob Hartley also has been impressed with his team’s recent play. The Flames scored four goals during a seven-game home losing streak prior to this homestand.
"It’s the feel-good attitude. It’s the feel you’re accomplishing something and getting a result. It’s a much easier sell for me and the players’ confidence," Hartley said. "This is a business of winning and the more we cultivate winning, I think we’re going to fast-forward our progression."
Stalock, 7-2-0 with a 1.53 GAA in nine starts, could be in net for the Sharks in the second of a back-to-back set.