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Russell, Hiller lead Flames past Sharks, 3-1

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Kris Russell scored his first goal of the season, Jonas Hiller stopped 28 shots, and the Calgary Flames beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Jiri Hudler and Mason Raymond also scored to help the Flames improve to 4-1-0 on a six-game homestand, which concludes Friday against Pittsburgh.

John Scott scored for San Jose, which lost in regulation for the first time in its last five games (3-1-1).

Calgary opened the scoring at 9:28 of the second period when Russell’s shot from inside the blue line was partially stopped by Alex Stallock but still squeaked through.

It was the first of three consecutive goals for the Flames, who led 3-0. Calgary moved from the second wild card spot in the Western Conference up to second place in the Pacific Division.

The Flames also matched their season high of nine games above .500, which they were also at on Dec. 4, prior to going on an eight-game winless skid.

Calgary took a 2-0 lead at 11:55 of the second on the power play. Johnny Gaudreau patiently carried the puck behind the San Jose net then centered it to Hudler for his 15th goal.

With less than 2 minutes left in the second, Raymond was set up perfectly by Joe Colborne and sent a one-timer past Stallock.

The Sharks’ lone goal came when Scott banged in his second of the season 2:48 into the third.

San Jose had the territorial edge in the third but could not get any closer.

Hiller has given up only eight goals over the past five games and improved to 17-14-2 on the season.

Stallock finished with 20 saves.

NOTES: Mikael Backlund (illness) returned to the Flames’ lineup after missing one game. … San Jose placed Tye McGinn on injured reserve and recalled Chris Tierney from Worcester of the AHL. … Calgary has led after the first period an NHL-low nine times this season. … After narrowly escaping a serious injury Monday night when a skate nearly cut his wrist, Gaudreau wore wrist guards inside his gloves.

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