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Game 50 Preview: The Sharks Look to Avoid Back-to-Back Losses in Alberta

I don't think it would go over very well for the San Jose Sharks should they go into their all-star break having lost back-to-back games against the likes of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, but they face that possible outcome tonight as they travel down highway 2 for a battle with the Flames, well-rested after their demolishing of the Oilers on HNiC, Saturday night.

The Flames are scratching and clawing their way back into the playoff hunt. Home games have proven successful over the last dozen dates at the 'dome as the Flames have compiled a 10-1-1 in them. But, they're coming off a somewhat lackluster performance in their last home game - a loss against the Kings - and will need to continue the momentum set up from their successful road trip in order to take down the Sharks tonight.

Exactly one week ago when the two met at HP Pavilion in San Jose, the Flames escaped with one point thanks to excellent goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff, and also some fortunate goalposts and bounces.

Tonight, the Flames look to avenge the shoot-out loss last week and set up a rubber-match back in Cali just over a week after the all-star break.

According to Roger Millions on twitter, these were the Flames projected lines from this morning.

Cammalleri - Backlund - Iginla

Comeau - Jokinen - Stempniak

Tanguay - Jones - Kostopolous

Morrison - Horak - Jackman

Butler - Bouwmeester

Giordano - Hannan

Brodie - Sarich


- The Sharks preview at Fear the Fin talks about their inability to score goals of late and predicts a 2-0 win for the visitors.

The Flames have been playing well at home, and I'd say low-scoring games play to their favour, but goal-scoring hasn't exactly been a strength for the Flames this year either and the Sharks may just be a little extra hungry today given they left a point in Edmonton last night.

- The Sharks sit in 3rd in the standings as the Pacific division leader, they're tied with the Kings with 4 games in hand. They're 11-6-4 on the road, 5-3-2 in their last 10, they've lost 3 in a row and 4 of 5 with the lone win coming against these Flames.

- Antti Niemi hasn't been stellar of late but played well against the Flames in their last meeting. Thomas Greiss started last night in Edmonton, giving Niemi the rest for tonight's tilt in Calgary. Niemi has a .928 EVSV%, just one point below Kiprusoff's .929.

- Kipper has 284 wins as a member of the Calgary Flames and 298 overall, so he's 2 away from 300 for his career and 16 away from 300 as a Flame, good enough for 27th all-time, 3 behind Mike Richter's 301.

- At home Kipper is 13-6-1, 2.19 GAA, .922 sv% and so far in January, he's 5-3-1, 2.15 GAA, .921 sv%.

The Flames will need another huge performance from Kipper to beat the Sharks but could also use some power-play opportunities to get on the board with their injury depleted lineup. The Flames didn't receive a single PP in San Jose last week so they'll be looking to create some opportunities at home tonight.