Boy, what a wild ride that was.
After surrendering four goals on Calgary’s first eight shots, San Jose found themselves down 4-1 after 20 minutes of play. However, the Sharks would claw all the way back and eventually grab a 5-4 lead early in the third period.
This time, it was the Flames who would respond in tying the game before winning this thriller in shootout as Calgary outlasted San Jose 6-5 on Thursday night.
Defense was optional in this contest as both teams were a mess within their own zone with neither goaltender providing much resistance. The Flames would jump out to an early lead with two goals 1:06 apart. First, it was Sam Bennett stealing an errant pass from Justin Braun in the neutral zone and wristing one past Alex Stalock, who was absolutely brutal in this one.
Then, Mark Giordano scored on the power play and just like that the Flames had a 2-0 lead, and both shots could have been handled better by the Sharks netminder.
After Tommy Wingels drew one back for San Jose, Calgary countered with another two-goal flurry for a 4-1 lead after one period of play. Sean Monahan converted his 17th goal of the season off a beautiful tic-tac-toe rush, and Mikael Backlund walked right around an onrushing Stalock for his eighth goal of the year as the SAP Center faithful littered the Sharks with boos.
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However, San Jose would begin their comeback march as Logan Couture, who had a simply fantastic game, would score his fifth goal of the season just 48 seconds into the second on the power play off a great seam pass from Brent Burns.
The Sharks would find themselves back on the man advantage at the midpoint of the second as the Flames took a series of penalties that allowed San Jose as 5-on-3 chance. Joe Thornton would find the puck on his stick and he sent a tape-to-tape pass to Patrick Marleau for an easy tap-in past Karri Ramo for his 17th of the season, cutting the deficit back to one.
The craziness would continue into the third as Couture recorded his fourth point of the night, firing a perfect pass to Joonas Donskoi who easily buried his ninth of the season to knot things up at four. Just over three minutes later, San Jose wasn’t done yet as Joel Ward found a cutting Dylan DeMelo for the Sharks third power play goal of the night, giving team teal their first lead of the night.
Unfortunately, it was San Jose’s penalty kill that couldn’t get the job done as Kris Russell pounced on a loose rebound to tie things up at five with the man advantage. In their last two meetings, the Sharks have allowed the worst power play in the league to convert on five-of-their nine attempts, simply dreadful.
Despite their defensive futility, San Jose had one last big opportunity to steal the two points as Calgary took two penalties with three minutes remaining, setting up a full 5-on-3 advantage for two minutes. To make matters worse for the Flames, Ramo was injured during the play and Jonas Hiller was forced into action off the bench.
Hiller was brilliant as he stoned a couple of grade-A chances as the Sharks peppered him with five shots during the sequence, including two great stops on Couture to send the game to overtime. He continued his mastery in the extra session, making a sliding stop on Justin Braun and somehow keeping out a Couture shot that rattled off the far post.
After the two teams were tied at one following the first three shooters, Jiri Hudler would win the game for the Flames going top-corner on Stalock to end this see-saw contest.
It’s tough to make sense of this game as the Sharks should receive full marks for hanging in there and coming all the way back; however, it was frustrating to watch them come unglued in the first as they weren’t ready to play, and they couldn’t hang on a one-goal lead at home. Their offense was dynamic all night long, outshooting Calgary by a 42-22 margin, but their goaltending and defense was putrid.
While San Jose was able to grab a point from this one, nobody should be happy with that effort as the Sharks let another valuable point slip through their grasp.