(Sports Network) - No Sharks rookie had scored 25 goals since the club's inaugural 1991-92 season beforeLogan Couture hit the mark on Wednesday. The freshman skater will try to help San Jose maintain its Pacific Division lead with a sixth straight victory tonight in a meeting with the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.
Couture snapped a seven-game goal drought in Wednesday's 3-2 overtime victory over the Penguins, becoming the first Sharks rookie to tally 25 goals since Pat Falloon in 1991-92. Couture, who does have six assists over his last four games, is tied with the Islanders' Michael Grabner for the most goals among rookies.
The 21-year-old also assisted on Patrick Marleau's second goal of the contest on Wednesday, the game-winner with just four seconds left in overtime. The tally came a minute after Marleau was stopped on a breakaway and helped the Sharks gain two points despite giving up the game-tying tally with just 50 ticks left in regulation.
"I think it shows that we can persevere when things like that happen," said Marleau. "Of course you don't want that to happen, but it did and I think we responded well to it."
Antti Niemi made 24 saves as the Sharks won a season-high five straight for the second time this month and are 14-2-1 in their past 17 games. That has helped San Jose take a one-point lead over Phoenix for first-place in the Pacific Division. The Coyotes visit the Blue Jackets this evening.
San Jose has won the first two contests of a three-game swing as well as three straight and seven of their last nine on the road.
Couture had a goal and two assists when the Sharks hosted the Flames on Nov. 13, claiming a 4-3 win and avenging a 4-0 shutout loss in Calgary on Oct. 24. All told, the two clubs have split their last 10 meetings and San Jose has lost four of its last six in Calgary.
The Flames play the third contest of a five-game homestand tonight and are one of five teams with 70 points and tied for the Western Conference's last three playoff spots. Calgary took the first two of its homestand before Tuesday's 3-1 setback to Boston.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 26 saves and Curtis Glencross had the lone goal to run his point streak to eight straight games. The forward has amassed seven goals and five assists in that span, but couldn't prevent the Flames from losing at home in regulation for the first time in 10 games (7-1-2).
"We never capitalized on some opportunities and hit a couple posts," said Flames head coach Brent Sutter. "It was one of those nights it just didn't happen the way we would've liked it to."
Kiprusoff posted a 27-save shutout in Calgary's home win over San Jose in October and is 8-4-0 in 12 career home starts versus the Sharks with a 2.33 goals-against average.
Niemi is 4-1-0 with a 2.48 GAA in his career versus the Flames.