The San Jose Sharks have been nearly perfect on the road this season. Unfortunately for them, they need to play an equal number of games on their home ice.
Riding a four-game overall winning streak, the Sharks try to snap a four-game home losing streak Thursday when they host the Calgary Flames.
San Jose (22-12-5) has been the league’s best team away from home, where it is 16-3-2 after a perfect four-game road trip. The Sharks, though, play their next four games at home, where they’re 6-9-3 and haven’t won since Dec. 13.
A visit from the Flames may be just what San Jose needs. The Sharks are 8-1-0 in their last nine home games against Calgary.
On Monday, Jonathan Cheechoo broke a 2-all tie with less than five minutes to play at Minnesota to give San Jose a 3-2 win over the Wild - its 10th straight road victory.
“I really don’t know what it is,” said Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who had two assists. “We feel comfortable on the road. I can’t put one thing on it. We try to play the same on the road as we do at home, but we (get) wins on the road, so it’s been exciting.”
Thornton, who leads San Jose with 46 points - twice as many as Milan Michalek - had at least one assist in all four wins during the trip. Michalek has a five-game point streak, with three goals and five assists during the run.
Michalek has five goals in his last five games against Calgary, while Thornton has points in five straight (six assists) against the Flames.
Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who leads the NHL with 22 wins, has won three of his last four against Calgary, including a 4-1 road victory on Oct. 22 in the teams’ only prior meeting this season.
The Flames (20-14-7) were just 4-10-0 in November, but are 10-1-4 since Dec. 1 to move into the thick of the crowded Northwest Division race.
Jarome Iginla, whose 29 goals lead the Western Conference, has carried Calgary. He has 16 goals in his last 15 games, including two on Wednesday night in the Flames’ 4-3 win over the New York Rangers - the third straight victory overall for Calgary.
“It’s been fun and a good streak, it’s nice to see the puck go in and us getting some wins,” Iginla said. “There’s been some fun streaks over the years but this one (is) definitely right up there, it’s been pretty enjoyable.”
Iginla has four goals and three assists in his last three games against San Jose, although he was held without a point in the October meeting.
Calgary left wing Kristian Huselius had a goal and three assists against the Rangers, giving him four goals and four assists over the past three games.
Miikka Kiprusoff, who began his career with the Sharks from 2000-03, has been in net for all 10 Flames wins since Dec. 1. He’s 5-5-1 with a 2.72 goals-against average versus his old team, but has lost four of his last five meetings with San Jose.