The Flames will try to boost their fading hopes Tuesday night when they host the Sharks, who can clinch a third straight Pacific Division crown with a victory.
Calgary (40-30-9) entered play Sunday tied with Colorado for the eighth and final postseason spot in the Western Conference. The Flames, though, had a three-game win streak snapped with a 4-1 loss at Chicago.
That result coupled with the Avalanche’s 5-4 overtime win later in the day over San Jose (48-20-11) put the Flames two points back. Colorado has the tiebreaker advantage and a game in hand.
If the Flames lose to the Sharks in regulation and the Avalanche win at Vancouver on Tuesday, Calgary will be eliminated.
“The reality is we need to get help,” coach Brent Sutter said. “It’s not too hard to figure out the mathematics here.”
Miikka Kiprusoff(notes) was 3-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average during the three-game win streak before he gave up four goals on 31 shots against the Blackhawks. Defenseman Ian White(notes) scored Calgary’s lone goal.
Flames star Jarome Iginla(notes) does not have a point in his last three games, and he’s been limited to five in his last 13 with one goal. He has a goal and one assist in three games against the Sharks this season.
San Jose can lock up the division title with a victory and is looking to hold off Chicago for the top seed in the West. The Sharks are two points ahead of the Blackhawks, who own the tiebreaker and have a game in hand.
“He’s the best passer in the league,” left wing Ryane Clowe(notes) said. “His faceoffs are also strong, so there’s a lot of elements that he brings besides the obvious elements. It’s a big factor for the other team trying to shut him down.”
The Sharks had won five of six before the loss to the Avalanche, although they were happy to get a point when Patrick Marleau(notes) and Joe Pavelski(notes) scored to rally San Jose from a two-goal deficit in the third period.
“Obviously we’re not making any excuses,” Clowe said. “We had a good start, we won the third period, we just had a lapse in the second. We’re not concerned at all, I think we’re going in the right direction.”
Calgary has won two of three against San Jose this season, sandwiching a pair of one-goal wins around a 9-1 loss Jan. 18. The Sharks have lost eight of 11 in Calgary.
Kiprusoff has won seven of his last 10 starts against his former team with a 3.19 GAA. He’s 8-4-0 with a 1.84 GAA in his last 12 home starts.