The San Jose Sharks have turned their season around with an impressive winning streak. Now they have some reinforcements to help them continue their playoff push.
Raffi Torres is expected to make his Sharks debut as San Jose looks to extend its winning streak to seven games Friday night against a Calgary Flames team looking to end the longest road skid in franchise history.
San Jose, ninth in the Western Conference before its run began, has put itself in position to contend for home-ice advantage in the first round thanks to its six-game streak, which includes victories in the first five of a seven-game homestand.
The Sharks beat Minnesota 4-2 on Wednesday night and can now match their seven-game run to open the season with a win on Friday.
"We want to catch teams," said captain Joe Thornton, who has six of his team-high 35 points in his last four games. "Most of the teams we've been playing lately have been ahead of us. We're trying to hunt teams down and secure a good spot in the playoffs."
San Jose (19-11-6) was outscored 33-20 during a 2-5-2 stretch prior to its current run, but it's outscored its last six opponents 20-9 while not allowing a power-play goal. It's only faced seven short-handed situations in that span.
Now the team has added some veteran depth as it continues its playoff push. The Sharks added Torres from Phoenix and reacquired defenseman Scott Hannan from Nashville at Wednesday's trading deadline.
Torres could be in the lineup against the Flames, while Hannan hasn't played since March 17 due to an upper-body injury.
"This group earned that equity by their performance," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "They earned the ability and the need to add these type of guys who are playoff-type guys and give you the depth that you need."
The Sharks, who are 13-1-4 at home, finish their homestand Sunday against Dallas.
The Flames (13-18-4), meanwhile, are just looking for some positives after a rough stretch has dropped them to 14th in the West. They'll begin a three-game road trip having gone 0-10-1 in their last 11 games away from Calgary.
Calgary lost 8-2 to Edmonton at home on Wednesday night, giving up the last eight goals after taking a 2-0 lead.
"As players, you're frustrated and all that stuff, but there's no reason for that. Even though you're down, you have to play the same way and we didn't," defenseman Mark Giordano said. "We played a soft game, we tried to make plays across the middle. It just comes down to, again, in our own zone, we were far from good enough."
The Flames have lost three in a row and 10 of their last 14, and their minus-30 goal differential for the season is the worst in the conference. They've given up 18 goals during the losing streak and were outscored 12-3 in back-to-back losses to Edmonton.
"That's not fun. As players in that room, that's embarrassing," center Matt Stajan said. "We wear that jersey every night in the NHL, we have to put in a better effort than that."
The Sharks and Flames have split two matchups this season, both in Calgary.