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Sharks open four-game homestand against Flames tonight at SAP

Patrick Marleau is doing well on the power play this year, but he could get better.
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(SAN JOSE) -- After three wins on the road last week, the San Jose Sharks return to the SAP Center tonight to host the struggling Calgary Flames, giving the home team an opportunity to extend its winning ways and solidify postseason positioning with just a few weeks left before the 2014 Winter Olympics break in February.

The Sharks currently have a firm hold on second place in the Pacific Division, which would secure them a playoff spot under the new format for the postseason. But they trail top-dog Anaheim by nine points, even with two games in hand.

San Jose does, however, have a four-point edge on the Los Angeles Kings, with a game in hand.

With ten games left before the three-week haitus next month for the Olympics, this is not the time for the Sharks to suffer a losing streak. With eight of those ten games at SAP, San Jose has a big chance to put some points between itself and Los Angeles.

The Sharks have a stellar 16-2-3 record at home, too, which is second best in the whole NHL in terms of regulation losses. For San Jose to keep collecting those points at home only increases their chances of being able to secure as many home playoff games as possible.

In the Pacific Division, Calgary is in sixth place right now, almost 30 points behind the Sharks in the standings, so it's a prime chance to keep things going well for San Jose tonight.

The Sharks would be well served to get their power play into higher gear during this homestand, as their 18.9% conversion rate right now ranks just 13th in the NHL.

San Jose has three forwards with at least 15 power-play points this season: Joe Pavelski (9-11-20), Patrick Marleau (7-9-16) and Joe Thornton (2-13-15). Little Joe actually is tied for third in the NHL with those power-play goals.

But overall, the team really needs to be converting a higher number of opportunities, and the Flames make an easy target tonight.

Game starts at 7:30 p.m.

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