San Jose (28-15-7) at Calgary (25-17-8)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Calgary, AB
Temp: 37° F
  • Game info: 9:30 pm EST Wed Jan 30, 2008
  • TV: TSN, CSBA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Calgary Flames got a little extra time to prepare for the stretch run of the season.

After a week-long All-Star break, the Flames hope to get the second half of their season started on a high note Wednesday as they host Evgeni Nabokov the San Jose Sharks.

Calgary (25-17-8) has not played since last Wednesday, when it beat Minnesota 2-1. The second-place Flames and the Wild, along with Vancouver and Colorado, are all within three points of each other at the top of the Northwest Division.

“We should have lots of energy. We had a fantastic break,” defenseman Robyn Regehr told Calgary’s official Web site. “We’re a team who played a lot of games going into that stretch, and now everyone’s pretty much caught up to us, so we can look forward to the last 32 games and the big push towards the playoffs.”

The Flames won their last three games of the first half, outscoring opponents 11-4. Stephane Yelle scored the tying goal and set up Craig Conroy’s game-winner against the Wild.

Conroy, who has eight goals, and Yelle, who has three, have each scored in consecutive games for the first time this season. They helped to pick up the slack for leading scorer Jarome Iginla, who has not recorded a goal in seven games - his longest slump since a nine-game drought from Nov. 16-Dec. 25, 2005.

“If you can develop that kind of depth with secondary scoring, it takes a lot of pressure off the guys that are going to be checked the hardest throughout the games,” Flames coach Mike Keenan said.

Iginla leads the Western Conference with 32 goals and also has a team-high 31 assists, but hasn’t found the back of the net since Jan. 5 at Los Angeles. However, he has scored two goals in three of his last four games against the Sharks.

“We look at ourselves, and we want to be in the hunt for the division and these games are going to go quick,” Iginla said. “I find this the most fun time of the regular season, and I look forward to it.”

The Sharks (28-15-7) won their third straight game on Tuesday, beating Edmonton 3-0 in the first of consecutive games in Alberta. Nabokov needed just 13 saves for his sixth shutout of the season and his NHL-leading 28th win.

Nabokov has posted two career shutouts against the Flames. Overall, he is 10-7-1 with two ties and a 2.22 goals-against average in 21 career starts against them.

“The guys were playing really well, we were pushing the pace pretty hard, and for 60 minutes which is nice to see,” Nabokov said. “After the (All-Star) break you never know how teams are going to respond. I thought we did a pretty good job.”

Joe Pavelski, Mike Grier and Patrick Rissmiller scored for San Jose, which is tied with Dallas for first place in the Pacific Division.

Enforcer Jody Shelley, acquired from Columbus on Tuesday for a sixth-round draft pick in 2009, is scheduled to join the Sharks before Wednesday’s game. Shelley, a 6-foot-4 left wing who’s recognized as one of the NHL’s toughest fighters, had no points and 44 penalty minutes in 31 games with the Blue Jackets this season.

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Wednesday, Jan 30