Despite a matchup looming against one of their biggest nemesis, Calgary Flames won’t be looking past Thursday’s visit to the San Jose Sharks in the opener of a two-game California road trip. Calgary is three points behind third-place San Jose and one back of Anaheim (Saturday’s opponent) entering Wednesday in the Pacific Division.
Getting away from home might not be the worst thing for the Flames, who are 9-4-3 on the road as opposed to a mediocre 9-11-0 at Scotiabank Saddledome, including a 3-2 setback against San Jose on Dec. 14. Calgary went into the break off a 3-2 home loss to Montreal, but it carries a five-game road point streak (3-0-2) into Thursday’s matchup. San Jose is coming off an impressive 2-0 win over Los Angeles and will be looking to wrap up a perfect three-game homestand before opening a five-game road trip. “When we play with energy like that, and that kind of compete, we can beat any team in the league,” goaltender Martin Jones told reporters after blanking the Kings. “It’s just a matter of rolling that game out every night.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Calgary), NBCSN California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE FLAMES (18-15-3): Defenseman Travis Hamonic was injured in Wednesday’s win over St. Louis and sat out Friday versus Montreal, but he was back at practice Wednesday skating alongside T.J. Brodie. Coach Glen Gulutzan said he expected Hamonic to rejoin the lineup but the status is unclear for Jaromir Jagr, who has missed seven of the past nine games but will accompany the team to California. Mike Smith and David Rittich will each get a start in net this weekend, Gulutzan told reporters.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (19-11-4): Logan Couture, out the past three games due to a concussion, skated with the team wearing a non-contact jersey Wednesday, but there’s no timetable for when the team’s leading scorer will return. “It was a practice. I wasn’t on a line or anything, I was able to get through it,” said Couture who has 15 goals and 26 points. “It’s all about how I feel after I skate.” Defenseman Paul Martin also went through his first practice since returning from a conditioning stint in the minors.
1. San Jose has scored at least one power-play goal in eight straight games, going 13-for-37 in that span.
2. Flames leading scorer LW Johnny Gaudreau has one goal in the past 10 games - against San Jose two weeks ago.
3. Jones is 5-3-0 with a 2.85 goals-against average versus Calgary.
PREDICTION: Sharks 3, Flames 2