The Sharks (43-28-7) woke up in Calgary this morning in third place in the Pacific Division, and played like it as well, dropping their matchup with the Flames (44-30-4) 5-2. Two weeks ago San Jose enjoyed a comfy six point cushion in the division but have only managed a lowly two points since and seen the Ducks and the Oilers easily make up the ground. They started the game fast and furious, playing scrappy grind it out hockey in the first, cemented by Micheal Haley’s beat down of Lance Bouma in defense of Justin Braun.
But as is usual when you play a little angrier and grip the stick a little tighter, some of your fundamentals and awareness tend to go by the wayside. The Sharks went down 0-1 to the Flames, despite leading in shots, after a nice give and go play between Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau, that developed when the Sharks lost track of Gaudreau on the zone entry. San Jose did a good job of settling down and drawing two penalties a few minutes apart to close out the period in the middle of a power play.
The breaks just wouldn’t come for the Sharks as they tested Calgary goalie Brian Elliot, but Elliot seemed more than up for the task. With frustration mounting and Haley in the penalty box on a tripping call, the Flames pumped four shots on goal before Sean Monahan put his own rebound past Martin Jones putting the Sharks in a deep 0-2 hole.
Finally the Sharks broke through after playing the grittiest hockey they’ve played all year. Marc-Edouard Vlasic joined in on a rush with Marcus Sorenson and Micheal Haley at 8:25 in the period and was able to finagle a snap shot off Haley’s drop pass.
But the trend of the game continued and the Flames made it look easy, while the Sharks seemed to be fighting for every inch of ice, Matt Stajan crashed the net and collected a rebound uncontested and beat Martin Jones to put Calgary back up by two, 3-1.
And in the immortal words of DJ Khaled, “another one.” Alex Chiasson added a fourth goal to the scoresheet for the Flames after driving straight into the Sharks defense and effortlessly flipping a backhand over Jones’ shoulder. Chiasson’s goal followed a trend of the San Jose defense playing far too passively, and allowing the Calgary offense to skate freely throughout the zone with too much space being afforded by the Sharks.
The Sharks were able to add a second goal to their tally from Melker Karlsson, who tipped a shot from Pavelski in the high slot past Elliot. The Sharks pressed hard for a quick goal, but Brian Elliot responded with a nasty glove save off for the save of the night.
The Flames added an empty net goal before the game mercifully came to a close. The Sharks will look to bounce back against the Canucks in Vancouver in their final road game of the season on Sunday at 4PM. The Sharks now lead the Flames by a single point, and are in danger of dropping into a wildcard spot, which would pair San Jose up with Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.
Fear The Fin’s Three Stars of the Game
- Brian Elliot
- Johnny Gaudreau
- Kris Versteeg