The Scouting Report: San Jose Sharks
Winners of their last six, the Sharks have propelled themselves into the heart of the Western Conference standings, currently sitting fifth with 44 points by way of a 19-11-6 record. After dealing Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins and optioning Ryane Clowe to the New York Rangers before the trade deadline, it remains to be seen if the Sharks can continue their winning ways without two key pieces.
Helping ease those losses is Raffi Torres and former Calgary Flames defenceman Scott Hannan, San Jose's additions before Wednesday's deadline.
Flames Season Series Record: 1-1-0
The Sharks started Calgary's season on a losing note, surviving a rambunctious first period from the Flames en route to earning a 4-1 win on the strength of a pair of Patrick Marleau tallies in the first game of the year for both teams.
Calgary rebounded in early March, upending the Sharks by the same score thanks in part to a 32-save performance in his first appearance back after recovering from a sprained knee.
GAA: 2.12 | SVP: 0.925
One of the league's best goaltenders this season, Niemi enters Friday's game against the Flames on his hottest stretch of the season. The Sharks goaltender has won six straight games and has allowed just six goals in his last five contests - recording shutouts in two along the way. Niemi's worst start during that five-game stretch? A 23-save performance where he registered a .920 save percentage.
SOG: 47 | +/-: -7
Since posting a season-high three-point performance at the expense of the Anaheim Ducks on March 27th, Wingels has failed to record a point. The 24-year-old center has three goals and 10 points in 30 games this year after three goals and six assists through 33 a season ago.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leading the way for the Sharks with 28 assists and 35 points in 36 games this season, the perennial point-per-game player is currently riding one of his more productive stretches of the season. The 33-year-old, six-foot-four pivot has points in four straight and is coming in against Calgary riding back-to-back one goal, one assist performances. In all, he has six points during his streak.
One of the streakiest goal scorers in the league, Marleau started the season with nine goals in his first five games. Since then, the 33-year-old has just seven in 31 games. Still, Marleau's 16 goals lead the Sharks and his 26 points give him a share of second in scoring on the team.
Leading all Sharks skaters in ice time averaging exactly 23 minutes per game, Boyle has been a workhorse on San Jose's blueline. His time has translated offensively, leading his team in goals and points among defencemen, finding the back of the net six times this year and assisting on 11 others.