When the puck dropped at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Randy Hahn described this game as a must-win for both the Sharks and the Calgary Flames, with the two being separated by only five points in the standings. A back and forth battle in the first two periods culminated with a four-goal performance by Evander Kane to further separate the Sharks and Flames in the standings.
The Sharks nearly scored three minutes into the game, but it was waved off due to a high stick. It took exactly six minutes for Kane to actually get the Sharks on the board with a chip shot from nearly the blue line for his 22nd goal of the season.
Troy Brouwer equalized it roughly 10 minutes later with a one-timer off the stick of Curtis Lazar, all while falling in style after having run into Brent Burns.
After an average first period, Peter DeBoer once again decided to go to the Line Blender, demoting game-time decision Jannik Hansen on the top line and replacing him with Chris Tierney. This change would prove to make the difference in tonight’s affair, as we found out.
Flames rookie Mark Jankowski scored his 13th goal of the season shortly into the second period. Some board play from Kris Versteeg led to fellow rookie Garnet Hathaway feeding Jankowski a back-hand pass, and he went bar-down on Martin Jones to give Calgary the lead early in the second.
The back-and-forth scoring continued when Brenden Dillon fed Dylan DeMelo a pass on the blue-line. DeMelo ripped a slap-shot from the point and the puck caught Evander Kane’s stick for his third goal in seven games in teal.
If you’ve ever wondered why they call Flames star Johnny Gaudreau “Johnny Hockey,” look no further. Mr. Gaudreau showed off his fancy stick-work in the middle of the second period when his back-hand pass inadvertently hit Chris Tierney’s skate, and upon retrieving it, Gaudreau dangled around Tierney and Marc-Edouard Vlasic before putting it past Jones glove-side. Micheal Ferland and Michael Stone were credited with the assists.
One minute and 42 seconds later, Kevin Labanc would take it into the offensive zone by himself before firing from the far side of the face-off circle to tie the game for the Sharks once again. Brent Burns had the lone assist, his 45th of the year.
The Sharks found themselves in a predicament a few minutes later when both Evander Kane and Chris Tierney landed themselves in the penalty box for slashing and interference, respectively, but the PK corps were able to fend off the attack.
With around four minutes left to go in the middle frame, Chris Tierney spotted Evander Kane charging on net, and gave him a nice back-hander. Kane’s initial shot was stopped by Mike Smith, but he was able to cash in the rebound for his first career hat-trick.
Tomas Hertl decided to join the goal parade as well, when Justin Braun, on the right wing, threw a puck on net that Hertl poked home for his 19th goal of the season.
A turnover from Dougie Hamilton ended up at the stick of Joe Pavelski, who fired a shot from the point that caught Evander Kane’s stick once again, giving him four goals on the night — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by someone in teal since Patrick Marleau did it in Denver last year.
By this point, Glen Gulutzan was fed up and swapped out Mike Smith for the Flames’ unexpected backup this season, David Rittich.
The Flames tried to make things interesting late in the third period when Micheal Ferland put a deflected shot from Sean Monahan past jones with a back-hand to pull the Flames closer, but this would not come to pass, as Eric Fehr netted his second goal of the season on an empty net to seal the deal, much to the audible dismay of the C of Red.
The final heatmap tonight:
Sharks win 7-4. Huge two points, but aren’t they all huge at this time of year?
- Micheal Ferland was the Flames’ leading scorer tonight with two assists and a goal.
- This was only the fourth game out of 36 games in which the Sharks have won both games in Calgary and Edmonton consecutively.
- Neither team could capitalize on the power play tonight. Both the Sharks and Flames went 0/2.