Sharks smell blood

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

There's no doubt in Joe Thornton's mind.

The San Jose Sharks are going to the playoffs.

"We have a real strong team in here," Thornton said yesterday before his Sharks were shutout 2-0 by the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome. "When we get in the playoffs, this team's going to be real dangerous."

Heading into last night's game, the Sharks were six points out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Just a night earlier, San Jose had a chance to pull within two points of Edmonton in the final playoff position but the Oilers netted a late pair to win the game and increase their lead in the standings.

The Sharks got off to a slow start this season with a record of 8-12-4 before Dec. 2, when Thornton made his debut in teal.

Since then, they've gone 20-10-4, including a six-game winning streak immediately following the Thornton deal. To make the post-season, the 2004 Western Conference finalists will have to win consistently down the stretch.

"Teams have got to watch out for us," said Thornton. "We've just got to keep winning games now."

Flames winger Shean Donovan knows the Sharks will be a threat should they achieve their goal of making the playoffs.

"That's a scary team, for sure," said Donovan. "We know they're a dangerous team. They've got good goaltending and good defence and, obviously, some pretty good firepower up front.

"That's a team you have to reckon with."

Having played the Sharks in the conference final two years ago, Donovan knows what a solid stretch drive can accomplish.

"They got hot two years ago," said Donovan, whose Flames downed the Sharks 4-2 in the best-of-seven series to advance to the Cup final. "They were the best team in the league for the last, I think, half of the year."


Videos

Photos