Rookie winger Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the game-winner with 4:21 left, as the San Jose Sharks dropped their second straight game in a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.
The Sharks drew three penalties in the first period, including two in the game’s opening five minutes, but failed to find the back of the net with the man advantage. On their third power play, Brent Burns’ shot from the left point nearly gave the Sharks the lead, but the Flames were able to clear a tantalizing rebound sitting behind Chad Johnson.
Calgary also failed to score on its lone power play, but controlled possession at even strength in the first 20 minutes, as they out-attempted the Sharks 11-7. The Flames came close to scoring on an odd man rush late in the period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic kept Johnny Gaudreau to the outside, but Gaudreau was still able to throw the puck to the front of the net, where it deflected off of a backchecking Logan Couture and went wide of the net.
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer changed his first and third lines to start the second period, swapping Mikkel Boedker and Melker Karlsson. The change nearly paid immediate dividends, with the third line creating the Sharks’ best chance of the game to that point. Boedker dished to Burns, who found Tomas Hertl open at the side of the net. Marleau redirected the rebound off of Hertl’s shot directly to Burns, but the puck bounced over his stick with Chad Johnson’s net practically wide open.
The Flames were able to take advantage of the Sharks’ new third line, as Troy Brouwer opened the scoring 16:32 into the period. Micheal Ferland dropped a pass from behind the net directly to Brouwer’s stick, and the free-agent signing one-timed it past a helpless Martin Jones before the goaltender could slide over. Ferland’s pass caught Hertl in no man’s land, with the center unable to close the gap on an uncontested Brouwer, or clog the lane to block the shot.
1:33 later, Calgary scored its second goal of the period. Deryk Engelland entered the zone and dropped the puck to Matthew Tkachuck, who fired a low shot along the ice through Jones’ five hole to double the Flames’ lead. The shot appeared to change direction, which flummoxed Jones.
Sam Bennett headed to the penalty box for tripping with 1:05 left in the third period, and the Sharks would capitalize at the very beginning of the third period. Joe Thornton passed to Joe Pavelski, who set up Burns. The defenseman picked a corner with a slap shot, and narrowed the Sharks’ deficit to 2-1.
Burns goal pic.twitter.com/CC5fOA5AbD— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 4, 2016
A few minutes later, San Jose could not convert on 59 seconds of a 4-on-3 power play, and then 1:01 of 5-on-4 action. In the immediate shifts following the power play, Chris Tierney centered Melker Karlsson and Patrick Marleau, and the new combination tied the game. Tierney won an offensive zone faceoff directly to Marc-Edouard Vlasic, whose point shot was deflected by Melker Karlsson in the slot, and trickled past Johnson with 10:36 left in regulation, squaring the score at 2.
Melker Karlsson ties the game pic.twitter.com/QgpI2KosFG— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 4, 2016
The Flames, though, would overcome the Sharks’ third period push, and took the lead with 4:21 remaining in regulation. The Flames gained teh zone on a controlled entry, and Michael Frolik found Tkachuk wide open in front of the net for his second goal of the game.
San Jose could not find a tying goal in the game’s final minutes, and lost its first game of the season on home ice.
- The Flames’ first and third goals seemed largely to be the result of defensive zone lapses. Brouwer and Tkachuk had nobody near them when they scored, as Hertl and Boedker appeared to miss their assignments. The second and third goals were also the result of some poor defense along the blueline, as Calgary was able to enter zone uncontested in both instances.
- Melker Karlsson moved up and down the lineup, but I thought he played well in each spot he was slotted. He showed off some great hand-eye coordination on his goal, and it’s good to see the bottom six get on the scoresheet.
- With the assist, Thornton moved to sole possession of 27th in the NHL’s all-time points list, and has now scored 1,350 points. The man is simply a first ballot Hall of Famer.
- Other than the loss in Pittsburgh, that’s arguably the Sharks’ most deflating loss of the season. They got themselves back in the game, only to lose it within the last five minutes. They’ll need to tighten up a few things on a quick turnaround, with the Penguins coming back to town for their visit since June on Saturday.
Fear the Fin’s Three Stars
- Matthew Tkachuk
- Michael Frolik
- Melker Karlsson