With the way the first period of Saturday night’s game played out, it was amazing the Sharks were able to create any offense against the visiting Calgary Flames. San Jose entered the first intermission trailing 2-0 and being outshot 11-4, not looking at all equipped to match the fast Flames. They were also beat up — the worst of them being Logan Couture, who took a stick to the mouth that chipped two of his front teeth.
Team Teal had some serious pow-wow time during that first break, came back out on the ice with newly-shuffled lines and ended up scoring three goals in the following 20 minutes. Although it seemed that they could pull out a come-from-behind win, it wasn’t enough to catapult them to victory as they fell 4-3 to the Flames in overtime.
Despite the comeback in the second period, Todd McLellan was focused on the poor start. “We got what we deserved,” he said flatly. “And we’re fortunate we got that. The start was unacceptable.”
Tommy Wingels agreed. “Just a poor first 20 minutes. You dig yourself a hole and you get frustrated, and we weren’t able to find our way out of it completely,” he shrugged. “We changed the lines going into the second, which created some momentum and some goals for us. But, we’ll look back at this, and it’s the first period that caused the loss tonight.”
Dennis Wideman put Calgary on the board 1-0 40 seconds into the tilt, firing the puck past Antti Niemi stick side. San Jose went on their first power play attempt of the evening shortly after that, but it was the Flames who capitalized. A bad pass by Brent Burns ended up in the Flames’ possession, and Calgary center Joe Colborne maneuvered up into the blue paint and snuck the puck in around Niemi stick side, building San Jose’s deficit 2-0.
San Jose clearly needed an attitude adjustment before they went back out on the ice for the next frame. “It was said that ‘there’s a lot of game left,” Pavelski said of the discussions that took place during the first intermission. “However bad we were, there’s a lot of game left to right the ship.”
San Jose at least seemed to “right the ship” when they busted through in the second stanza. Just 12 seconds into the frame Couture, chipped teeth and all, beat young goaltending phenom Joni Ortio to put the Sharks on the board 2-1. On the next shift Calgary got called for “too many men on the ice” which put the Sharks back on the power play. Joe Thornton picked up a loose rebound from an attempt by Pavelski and chipped it past Ortio glove side to tie the tilt up 2-2. About nine minutes into the period, a feed by Pavelski through the blue bounced off Karlsson’s skate and into the back of Calgary’s net. After a quick video review questioning if the goal could be allowed, the rookie was awarded the go-ahead marker that put San Jose on top 3-2. The lead didn’t last long however, as Jiri Hudler lined the puck through traffic and past Niemi to knot things back up 3-3.
Teams were pretty evenly matched in the third frame. Patrick Marleau had a gorgeous breakaway but his backhanded shot was denied by Ortio. The Sharks were clutch when killing off a two-minute penalty on Matt Tennyson and Niemi made a couple key saves to hold the tie and take the game into OT. But just 24 seconds into “free hockey” Sean Monahan eluded Niemi’s block to bury the game-winner and give Calgary the 4-3 victory.
“We’re fortunate to have a point, we need to realize that,” McLellan summed up. “Yes we did come back, yes we pushed. All good signs. But the start was unacceptable.”
— The Calgary Flames have won two games in San Jose in a season for the first time since the 2007-2008 campaign.
— Logan Couture has 20 points in 19 career games vs Calgary, five goals and four assists in eight games in San Jose.
— Joe Thornton’s game-tying goal in the second period was his 1,229 career point. It ties him for 38th on the NHL all-time point scorers list with Norm Ullman.
— Thornton’s goal was his first on the man advantage since Dec. 3, 2013, at Toronto, making it his first in 97 games. Per @EliasSports, the goal snapped his longest career streak without a power play goal.
— Melker Karlsson’s goal was his sixth in the last eight games.