It was yet another playoff-like game for the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night, as they went into battle with a divisional foe in the form of the San Jose Sharks. Despite playing a fairly solid game, and keeping the Flames on their heels for portions of the first and third periods, it was the Sharks that were left laying this evening.
By virtue of a very strong stretch in the second period, and an otherwise fairly solid game from the whole team, the Calgary Flames beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 at the ‘Dome. The Flames have moved into a tie with the Sharks for second place in the NHL’s Pacific Division, and hold the tie-breaker by virtue of having more wins.
The first period was as even as you can imagine a 20-minute span of hockey without any goals. Each team had good chances. Each team scrapped hard. Shots were tied at 10-apiece. Nobody scored. The tension was high.
The flood-gates opened in the second. The Flames opened the scoring mid-way through the period. Kris Russell finally got his first of the season, leaning into a shot that careened off a defender’s skate and past Alex Stalock. They doubled their lead shortly thereafter on a power-play, as Johnny Gaudreau entered the zone, wheeled around the net and found Jiri Hudler out front of a tap-in. I believe that makes it three consecutive games for their power-play converting for a goal. Four minutes later, Mason Raymond added another one off a nifty feed from Joe Colborne to make it 3-0. Shots were 11-10 for the Sharks, but the Flames had all the offense.
The Sharks pushed back in the third, though their cause was helped by a puck-over-glass penalty to Deryk Engelland. They out-shot Calgary 8-3 as the Flames firmly embraced the score effects. They were content to chip the puck out of the zone and ride out the clock. John Scott scored the lone goal, knocking in a weird bounce past a sprawling Jonas Hiller. That was as close as the Sharks got, and the Flames actually got robbed – twice – on potential empty-net goals.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
Quite simply, they took advantage of their chances and did what they could to minimize the Sharks’ big guns. Aside from Calgary’s offensive outburst in the second half of the second period, the game was pretty even. The difference-maker(s) were Hiller’s 28 saves and the team’s trio of goals. Instead of wondering what was happening when then the game was presented to them, they said “Thanks!” and took control of the game.
That probably wouldn’t have happened a year or two ago.
It took awhile, but Kris Russell finally got a goal. Let’s give him the nod.
Honourable mention to Jonas Hiller.
|Away||1||19:31||Pavelski from Thornton, save||1||5||7||11||17||19||4||8||19||32||68||80||5v5|
|Home||1||19:07||Jooris from Byron, save (4v5 PK)||1||4||6||32||86||8||12||19||32||39||88||4v5|
|Away||1||15:25||Karlsson from Nieto, save (4v4)||1||4||6||11||86||27||32||52||68||83||4v4|
|Home||1||12:36||Jones from Backlund, save||1||5||7||11||17||19||12||27||32||39||52||83||5v5|
|Home||1||3:45||Jooris from Hudler, save||1||4||6||23||24||86||12||32||39||44||83||88||5v5|
|Away||1||1:19||Nieto from Couture rebound, save||1||4||6||13||23||24||12||32||39||44||83||88||5v5|
|Away||1||0:37||Pavelski from Thornton, miss||1||4||6||13||23||24||8||19||27||32||52||68||5v5|
|Home||2||19:45||Bouma from Backlund, save||1||5||7||11||17||19||4||8||19||32||68||80||5v5|
|Away||2||19:20||Burns from Pavelski, miss (4v4)||1||5||7||23||32||8||19||32||44||88||4v4|
|Home||2||18:46||Hudler from Brodie, save (4v4)||1||4||7||13||24||12||32||39||52||80||4v4|
|Away||2||16:14||Pavelski from Thornton, miss||1||18||25||29||32||33||4||8||19||32||68||80||5v5|
|Away||2||10:03||Couture from NIeto, save||1||4||6||13||23||24||12||32||39||44||83||88||5v5|
|Home||2||8:06||Hudler from Gaudreau, goal (5v4 PP)||1||6||7||13||23||24||4||12||27||32||39||5v4|
|Away||2||6:34||Hertl from Goodrow, save||1||5||7||8||32||86||4||15||32||48||88||89||5v5|
|Away||2||6:33||Sheppard from Hertl rebound, save||1||5||7||8||32||86||4||15||32||48||88||89||5v5|
|Home||2||5:15||Bollig from Byron, save||1||4||6||18||25||32||4||20||32||50||80||81||5v5|
|Away||2||3:09||Marleau from Thornton, save (5v4 PP)||1||7||17||18||29||8||12||19||32||39||88||4v5|
|Home||2||1:58||Raymond from Colborne, goal||1||7||8||21||33||86||4||32||48||52||81||83||5v5|
|Home||2||0:02||Backlund from Bouma, miss||1||5||7||11||17||19||12||32||39||52||83||88||5v5|
|Away||3||18:49||Tennyson from Burns, save||1||5||7||8||21||86||15||32||48||52||80||89||5v5|
|Away||3||18:18||Hertl from Sheppard, save||1||8||21||29||33||86||4||15||32||48||88||89||5v5|
|Away||3||17:14||Scott from Hannan, goal||1||18||25||29||32||33||20||27||32||50||80||81||5v5|
|Away||3||6:32||Marleau from Nieto, miss||1||4||6||13||23||24||8||12||32||39||44||88||5v5|
|Away||3||3:55||Marleau from Hannan rebound, save||1||5||7||18||25||32||12||27||32||39||52||83||5v5|
|Home||3||2:49||Backlund from Hudler, save||1||5||7||11||17||24||15||32||44||48||81||88||5v5|
|Home||3||1:44||Brodie from Bouma, miss (6v5)||1||5||7||11||17||24||8||12||19||39||68||88||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The Sharks and Canucks play tomorrow night. Somebody gets two points. So either the Sharks get to 63 points and break the tie, or the Canucks win and get up to 61 points. Either way, the Flames won’t be in second place after tomorrow, so enjoy it, everybody.
SUM IT UP
The Calgary Flames now boast a 29-20-3 record and 61 points, good for (temporary) sole possession of second in the Pacific by virtue of tie-breakers with 30 games to go. They play the first of their final 30 on Friday night when Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins visit. The puck drops at 7pm MT on Sportsnet West.