Flames-Sharks Preview

The Associated Press

The Calgary Flames' last game started with a brawl, but ended like most of their performances over the last three weeks - in defeat.

The San Jose Sharks enjoyed a much more effective eruption from Joe Pavelski.

The woeful Flames may be looking for a different way to get themselves going Monday night as they attempt to slow down one of the NHL's hottest scorers and earn a rare win in San Jose.

Calgary (16-26-7) is only three points better than last-place Edmonton in the Western Conference thanks to a 2-9-1 stretch in which it's totaled just 14 goals.

In an effort to create a spark, coach Bob Hartley started the fourth line in Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss at Vancouver. However, all it ignited was a brawl with the Canucks' tough guys off the faceoff, as all 10 skaters paired off. It also enraged Vancouver coach John Tortorella, who shouted vehemently at a stoic Hartley from his bench.

The incident resulted in eight ejections and 150 of the game's 204 penalty minutes. Tortorella also tried to confront Hartley after the first period, but was detained as he tried to gain access to the Flames locker room.

Hartley felt justified in his decision to go with his fourth line, citing Brian McGrattan and Kevin Westgarth's presence on the ice on a goal by Lance Bouma late in Thursday's 5-2 loss to Winnipeg. Neither touched the puck on Bouma's tally, which occurred three seconds after a faceoff.

"Those guys are playing well for us. They got us a goal last game. We're not scoring many goals," Hartley said. "We had zero intentions there. Those guys are playing hard for us. As far as I know they were the home team. They had the luxury to put whoever they wanted on the ice.

"He decided who he puts on. It is what it is."

While the NHL is expected to hand out disciplinary actions, Hartley will try to keep Calgary focused on Pavelski and the Sharks (31-12-6), who have taken six of the past seven meetings at home, including a 6-3 victory Oct. 19.

Pavelski had two goals and two assists in that meeting, giving him 11 and 14 in 18 career home matchups. He got another assist on a goal by Patrick Marleau in a 3-2 overtime win at Calgary on Nov. 12.

Pavelski is certainly coming into this meeting off an impressive performance. He netted a natural hat trick in the second period of Saturday's 5-4 comeback win at Tampa Bay as San Jose finished its road trip 3-0.

"We talked that we were going to play all the way through," Pavelski said. "We've ended road trips with losses but we wanted to be able to clean-sweep one for a change."

Pavelski is among the league leaders with 25 goals, and he's scored 16 of them over the past 19 contests.

The Sharks, who are opening a four-game homestand, are 16-2-3 at home but were shut out in the most recent, a 1-0 loss to Boston on Jan. 11.

Joe Thornton has 11 points in his last seven games against the Flames, getting four in the two this season. His assist on Pavelski's final goal Saturday gave him 1,170 points to tie him with Hall of Famer Bobby Hull for 48th all-time.

The Flames would welcome some production from Sean Monahan, who is tied with the injured Michael Cammalleri (concussion) for the team lead with 13 goals.

The rookie center has one goal in his last seven games, but has a goal and two assists against San Jose this season.

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