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Flames 4, Sharks 1

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CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames were victorious again.

The San Jose Sharks were snakebitten again.

The Sharks finally ended their goal-scoring drought at 160:36, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Flames registered a fourth straight win with Thursday's 4-1 triumph at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Right winger Lee Stempniak, defenseman Mark Giordano, center Sean Monahan and right winger Jiri Hudler each scored for the Flames (20-27-7), while center Mikael Backlund had a pair of assists and neminder Karri Ramo made 27 saves in a first-star performance.

Rookie right winger Eriah Hayes had his first NHL goal for the Sharks (34-15-6), but that was the only tally for a squad that has lost three straight, including two shutouts.

Goaltender Alex Stalock made 26 saves for San Jose.

Stempniak had the lone tally in the first period, although Backlund deserves the bulk of the credit. The Flames' first-line center made a crafty move around Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin and although his attempt was stopped by Stalock, Stempniak capitalized on the rebound to give the home team an early lead.

Backlund added another assist at the 3:38 mark of the middle frame, when his wrist-shot deflected off the stick of Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, missing the net but bouncing right to Giordano. Calgary's captain finished it off and now has points in eight consecutive games, the longest streak of his career.

Giordano played a key role in preserving the two-goal lead later in the period. Sharks center James Sheppard was stopped on a breakaway but the puck trickled through Ramo's five-hole, and Giordano was there to prevent Hayes from chipping it in.

Hayes finally got one just 36 seconds into the third, with center Patrick Marleau setting him up after a turnover in Calgary's zone.

That was as close as the struggling Sharks would get.

Monahan batted Joe Colborne's pass out of mid-air and past Stalock with seven minutes to go and Hudler scored an empty-netter to seal the victory.

The Flames will shoot for a fifth straight win in Saturday's meeting with the Minnesota Wild.

The Sharks are now headed back to San Jose for a four-game homestand before the Olympic break, starting with Saturday's meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks.

NOTES: Sharks RW Tyler Kennedy, who made an early exit during Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, missed Thursday's game because of a lower-body injury. ... Flames LW Michael Cammalleri was expected to return against the Sharks, but Calgary's coaches met with the veteran forward and decided that he would sit out a ninth straight game. Cammalleri hasn't had a setback in his recovery from a concussion but wants to ensure he is in tip-top shape before he is inserted into the lineup. When Cammalleri returns, Flames LW Curtis Glencross (high-ankle sprain) will be the only player on Calgary's injured list. ... Sharks C Logan Couture, who has missed 12 games since having hand surgery, skated Thursday morning at the Scotiabank Saddledome. He could see game action before the Olympic break. ... The Flames reassigned C/LW Blair Jones to the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat. Jones has appeared in 14 games for Calgary this season.
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