For the second time in less than a full week, the Calgary Flames have defeated the San Jose Sharks, a fellow Pacific Division opponent.
On Monday, the Flames, with their dads in the stands watching, jumped out to a first-period lead on a goal from Mason Raymond, his ninth of the season, as he calmly skated into the middle of the ice and snapped a shot that beat Antti Niemi. Calgary went on to defeat the Sharks by a final score of 4-1.
Calgary now jumps back into second in the Pacific, still tied in points with the Sharks. The Canucks lost in Minnesota earlier in the evening and stay at 61 points, which knocks them down to the final Wild Card spot in the conference.
The Flames have dominated the Sharks in San Jose this season.
Wingels has been activated from injured reserve after missing seven games with a broken hand. Versus Calgary, he’s expected to skate on the right side of a line with Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney.
The Sharks, perhaps the most inconsistent team in the NHL this season, lost another winnable game Saturday at home to Carolina — just the latest defeat to a team that won’t be participating in the playoffs this spring.
Tonight, not only will the Sharks be looking for redemption for Saturday’s effort, they’ll be trying to avenge last week’s 3-1 loss to the Flames in Calgary.
“We’re an inconsistent team this year. We need to fix that going forward,” forward Logan Couture said, per CSN Bay Area.
“We’ve got a stretch run here. We’re going to need to win a lot of games to get into the playoffs.”
Curtis McElhinney will start his third straight game when the Blue Jackets host the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings in Columbus tonight.
McElhinney, propelled into starting duties with Sergei Bobrovsky injured, has been excellent as of late; over the weekend, he earned back-to-back starts against St. Louis and Ottawa and played extremely well, stopping 66 of 68 shots for a .971 save percentage (and a pair of wins: 7-1 over the Blues and 4-1 over the Sens).
The 31-year-old, who’s a UFA at season’s end, has been pretty steady for Columbus this season and received plenty of playing time given Bobrovsky’s recurring health woes. McElhinney’s 7-8-1 on the year with a 2.77 GAA and .915 save percentage.
For the Kings, Jonathan Quick is expected to get the start in goal. L.A. heads into tonight’s action five points back of eighth-place Calgary in the Western Conference.
Oilers at Devils: Ben Scrivens vs. Cory Schneider
Canucks at Wild: Ryan Miller vs. Devan Dubnyk
Coyotes at ‘Hawks: Mike Smith vs. Antti Raanta
Flames at Sharks: Jonas Hiller for Calgary, Antti Niemi likely for San Jose.
Video: Gionta takes Nielsen for ride with stick caught in skate
Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta had an eventful game against the New York Islanders. He got two shots on goal, which sadly accounted for 20% of Buffalo’s total, and he was involved in a bizarre incident in the first period.
Gionta’s stick ended up getting caught in Frans Nielsen’s skate, knocking the 30-year-old forward to the ice. Buffalo’s captain continued to skate forward, dragging Nielsen from one end of the ice to the other as he tried to free his stick.
Nielsen, who was playing in his 500th game, was fine and went on to record an assist in the Islanders’ 3-2 victory.
That certainly doesn’t happen every game, but when it does it doesn’t always result in one player dragging the other. For example, Edmonton forward Nail Yakupov got his stick caught in Ryan Ellis’ skate earlier this season and stopped playing to help untangle the Predators’ defenseman:
Scott Hannan also got his stick stuck in Rick Nash’s skate back in March 2014, but in that case Hannan let go of his stick:
Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed Saturday’s game and will be absent for at least two more contests after being placed on the injured reserve list, per CSN Bay Area. What he’s dealing with is a matter of some debate.
The Sharks are officially calling it an upper-body injury, but Vlasic originally said he was sick, stating on Sunday, “I wasn’t feeling well before the game (on Saturday). Still not feeling well right now.”
Vlasic also described it as a “cold” because his “voice is not where I want it to be,” per the San Jose Mercury News. It’s hard to believe though that Vlasic would have been reserved over a cold.
That has led to some speculation that he’s suffering from a concussion, but it’s also possible that Vlasic is merely dealing with two unrelated issues. Per team policy, Sharks coach Todd McLellan didn’t offer much information.
“It’s upper body, so however he wants to tell you. I’m not changing the way we make announcements as far as injuries go,” McLellan said.
Vlasic sustained what’s believed to be a concussion during the first round of the 2014 playoffs.
The 27-year-old defenseman has 17 points and has been averaging 22:20 minutes per contest in 52 games this season. San Jose also called up 21-year-old Dylan DeMelo. He has four goals and 11 assists in 45 AHL contests in 2014-15.