The Calgary Flames brought an end to a perfect San Jose Sharks home record on Thursday, Nov. 3…
The San Jose Sharks home record has been a story the past couple seasons, and not in a good way. After finishing in the bottom fifth of the league in home record the last two seasons, they are expecting better this 2016-17 NHL season. They began with a perfect October.
That perfection was ended by the Pacific Division-rival Calgary Flames Thursday, Nov. 3. Four games certainly had not erased the 37 wins in 82 games over the last two regular seasons. However, it meant something built atop an 8-4 record in San Jose during the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs.
One loss does not cede all that ground. That said, a losing the next couple games might put home-ice questions back on everyone’s minds.
Calgary was the second opponent in a row to win with a backup goalie. Chad Johnson made 26 saves two days after Louis Domingue made 39. Both allowed their second goal in the third period but no more.
The lack of scoring has been an issue most nights of the 2016-17 NHL season. The Sharks had countered that at home with great defensive play, yielding exactly one goal in each of their first four games.
By contrast, they have given up at least two goals in a period and/or three overall in each of their six road games. They brought that problem home Thursday.
The game was scoreless for more than 36 minutes. Then Micheal Ferland did a beautiful reversal behind the net to ensure that ended.
He fed net-crashing Troy Brouwer from behind the net for the one-timer goal before Martin Jones could track the puck. Rookie Matthew Tkachuk scored 93 seconds later to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
San Jose responded in the third period. It started on a power play that carried over from the second period.
Current captain Joe Pavelski got the puck from former captain Joe Thornton just over half a minute in. A drop pass was gobbled up by Brent Burns and shot through traffic past Johnson.
The Sharks put themselves in position to keep their perfect home record alive before the midpoint of the third. Melker Karlsson pushed a loose puck past Johnson to even the score at 9:18.
Unfortunately for San Jose, Tkachuk had another score in him. Calgary’s 18-year old rookie (and son of American-born great Keith Tkachuk) backhanded a live puck in front of the crease past Jones with 4:21 to play.
The comeback had come up short. Still, the event summary shows the Sharks were once again the team doing more attacking. Ten more faceoff wins (33-23) and six more takeaways (12-6)—but also six more giveaways (20-14)—resulted in a 67-43 edge in shot attempts.
However, the Flames countered with six more blocks and eight more hits, allowing just six more shots through (28-22). They had three more penalties and gave up the only score on special teams.
San Jose will need both its offensive and defensive games for a full 60 minutes if it intends to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday. The same will hold true to turn around the road woes that have plagued this team so far this 2016-17 NHL season, as a six-game road trip follows.