With Logan Couture returning to the lineup, the Sharks forward corps was as close to full strength as it has all season. But it wasn't enough as San Jose lost 4-2 to the Calgary Flames Tuesday night from the Saddledome.
Entering this game, the team once again struggled early on. The Flames were able to get up on the board just 1:45 into the period. Jiri Hudler was sprung on an odd-man rush and flipped it across to the trailer, Markus Granlund, who put it past Martin Jones for the first goal of the game.
The Sharks were able to respond shortly after, and from a surprising new place - the fourth line. With Couture back in the lineup, the trickle down through the lineup created a line of Joonas Donskoi, Chris Tierney and Dainius Zubrus. Unlike some other versions of the fourth line that really struggled, this one seemed to hit it off much better. Four and a half minutes into the game, Tierney grabbed a puck behind the net and flipped it to Zubrus who fired a spinning backhand on net. While standing at the top of the crease, Donskoi took a whack at the rebound, but it bounced off to the side, back to Tierney. Tierney put home the third effort chance for the goal to even things up at 1-1. The fourth line would finish withone of their better games of the season.
Unfortunately, a Zubrus penalty would soon lead to a Calgary powerplay goal. Mark Giordano had his shot tipped in front by Sean Monahan and it just squeezed through the pads of Martin Jones to give Calgary the lead back. Again, however, the Sharks responded before the period came to an end. Ten seconds into their own powerplay, Patrick Marleau fired a point shot with Joe Thornton screening - and actually tipping it home, too - to once again tie the game.
Into the second period, the Sharks flat-lined, waiting 6:21 before even getting a shot attempt. In that time, Michael Frolik gave the Flames yet another lead. Also in that stretch, it appeared the Flames had another one. Monahan looked like he had his second of the night, but after a challenge, it was ruled the Flames were offside. While it didn't count as a goal, the Flames did chase Jones out of the net after giving it up. Alex Stalock came in as his replacement. While he was solid for most of the night, Mikael Backlund got the Flames to 4-2 for real on a wrister from above the hashmarks just a few minutes into Stalock's night.
The Sharks put on a pretty good push in the third period, but it wasn't enough, and the Sharks fell 4-2. Karri Ramo had 31 saves for the Flames. Shots finished up even at 33 a piece, with shot attempts 62-56 in the Sharks' favor.
Fear the Fin's Three Stars
1) Mikael Backlund
2) Karri Ramo
3) Sean Monahan