Flames hope to clinch against slumping Sharks

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames let their emotions get the better of them against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

In the process, the Flames (43-30-4) dropped a 4-1 decision to the Kings at the Scotiabank Saddledome and missed out on an opportunity to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"We just didn't have any rhythm to our game," said Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan, who challenged his players on Thursday to learn from the emotion of the chippy affair against the Kings heading into their next game at home on Friday against the San Jose Sharks (43-27-7). "I think we need to do a better job of having better discipline over emotion."

Although they didn't clinch their first playoff berth in three seasons, the Flames can still do so with a win over the Sharks or a loss by the Kings against the Canucks in Vancouver on Friday.

"The good thing about that is we have five more games to do it," said Flames left winger Johnny Gaudreau, who vowed that he and his teammates will put the disappointing loss to the Kings behind them. "We learned from it. Obviously, a lot of young guys in our lineup. Come back (on Friday), hopefully clinch against San Jose."

Following a 3-2 loss in Edmonton to the Oilers on Thursday, the Sharks will be looking to bounce back with a win over the Flames.

"This league doesn't let you feel sorry for yourself," said San Jose coach Peter DeBoer. "We'll pick ourselves up, dust off, and get ready for that game (in Calgary)."

The Sharks led the Pacific Division standings for most of the season before their recent slump that has seen them lose seven of their past eight games, including five in a row on the road.

That allowed both the Ducks and Oilers to jump past them. San Jose sits in third, three points back of Anaheim and two behind Edmonton. The Flames are only three points behind the Sharks.

Despite San Jose's recent troubles, right winger Jannik Hansen said the Sharks are playing better of late.

"We're obviously getting closer to the playoffs here," said Hansen, who the Sharks acquired from the Canucks at the NHL trade deadline. "We need to have our game in the right spot. The last two games have been a whole lot better than the previous six."

The Flames started the season series between the two teams with a 3-2 win over the Sharks in San Jose on Nov. 3. The Sharks responded with a 4-1 win on home ice on Dec. 20 before the Flames bounced back with another 3-2 victory on Jan. 11.

The same two teams will wrap up their five-game series and their regular-season schedules on April 8 in San Jose.

San Jose captain Joe Pavelski said the Sharks have to get back to the way they were playing early in the season if they hope to get back ahead of the Ducks and Oilers while fending off the Flames.

"It's there, but there's more," said Pavelski. "Teams are showing up every night and playing hard. There's another level for us to get to."
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