SAN JOSE -- Pro athletes are afflicted with selective amnesia on occasion, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic developed a case Sunday when asked if the Sharks' last trip to Alberta can motivate players in his team's next two games on the road against a pair of Pacific Division bottom-dwellers.

"I actually don't remember what happened last time," he responded.

He did remember, of course. The Sharks came away empty-handed in late January, victims of a spectacular 59-save performance by Edmonton Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens in a 3-0 defeat and their own shortcomings the following night in a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.

San Jose plays the teams in reverse order over the next two nights starting Monday in Calgary, and coach Todd McLellan hopes the results are reversed as well.

"To get the results we want and need, we'll have to be better in a number of areas -- can't let the goaltender beat us again, and just be a lot sharper in Calgary," he said. "They're a team that works extremely hard and is very competitive and really embraced that identity of having a lot of pride down the stretch. It won't be an easy task."

The Sharks, who will clinch their 10th consecutive playoff appearance with a point in either game, will be facing two teams in vastly different mental states after the Flames' 8-1 stomping of the Oilers on Saturday night.

"Which state should we worry about? One feels good about its game, and the other one doesn't. They're both dangerous no matter any way we look at it," McLellan said. "But we can't be concerned about how they feel or what they're thinking. We have a game to play, and we've got to play it well."


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McLellan called the current schedule with four games in six nights this late in the season "maybe our toughest stretch of the season as far as fatigue, travel, amount of games." To help his players deal with that, he kept them off the ice Sunday as McLellan balances the need for both rest and practice.

  • Injured defenseman Brad Stuart will travel with the team to continue his rehab work on the road, but McLellan said he wasn't certain if Raffi Torres would be aboard the team plane just two hours before it was scheduled to take off -- a pretty good sign the left wing won't be seeing any action in Alberta as he continues to recover from general soreness concentrated in his surgically repaired knee.

  • McLellan has said that he likes the improvement in James Sheppard's game down the stretch as a third-line center. And the coach got very specific in analyzing the goal Sheppard scored Saturday on a beautiful breakaway after blocking a shot in the 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals.

    "It was nice to see Shep rewarded. He's had two breakaways in two games and made the right move this time. The key," McLellan said, "is being in the shooting lane and backchecking to the right spot and willing to get hit with the puck and go the other way. That gives you a sense of what coaches look at and even what his teammates look at."

    See David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PollakOnSharks.

    monday's game
    Sharks (46-18-8) at Calgary (29-35-7), 6 p.m. CSNCA