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Preview: Calgary Flames vs San Jose Sharks 12/31/18 (40/82): First Place Is On The Line

San Jose is nipping at Calgary’s heels in the Pacific Division.

NHL: Preseason-San Jose Sharks at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames vs San Jose Sharks, 7:00 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

TV: SN1, SNE, SNO. SNP

Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames 23-12-4 (50 pts) - San Jose Sharks 21-12-7 (49 pts)

NHL Standings

Don’t look now, but here comes the rest of the Pacific Division. Calgary and Vegas are tied for first with 50 points, but the San Jose Sharks are just one point out of first place coming into this contest. The Flames picked a bad time to hit a losing skid, but they can put some space between themselves and the Sharks with a win tonight. The Flames have dropped four out of their last five, but they have been playing so well that despite those four losses, they still are tied for the lead in the Pacific and in the Western Conference.

After struggling for a good part of late November and early December the Sharks have come on strong lately. San Jose has won seven out of their last 10 and they’ve been doing it by scoring plenty of goals. In their seven wins they’ve scored 36 goals and given up only 19, including one shut out. The Sharks are currently 3rd in the NHL in GF with 135, which is two better than Calgary’s 133. The San Jose PP is operating at 22.7%, good for 9th overall with 27 tallies in 119 tries.

The Flames are 3-2-0 in their last five home games against San Jose, but the Sharks haven’t been very dominant on the road. San Jose is 9-8-3 away from their home barn and comparing that to Calgary’s 11-4-4 record at the Dome and this looks like a favorable match-up for the Flames. The Flames lost the last time these two met by the score of 3-1 back on November 12th.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Rittich (E)- 12-4-3, 2.26 GAA, .924 Save%

Sharks: Jones (E)- 16-8-4, 2.87 GAA, .898 Save%

Team Leaders

Calgary: Goals- Monahan (21), Points- Gaudreau (51), PIM- Bennett (55), Save%- Rittich (.924)

San Jose: Goals- Pavelski (23), Points- Burns (38), PIM- Kane (63), Save%- Dell (.904)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

San Jose Sharks Coverage: Fear The Fin

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 2 - Vancouver Canucks 3 (OT)

San Jose Sharks 7 - Edmonton Oilers 4

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Jankowski (C): 6G - 9A, 3 points in last 2 games

San Jose Sharks

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Burns (D): 5G - 33A, 4 points in last 5 games