Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost a second preseason game to the Calgary Flames at SAP Center on Thursday night. Despite scoring the first goal of the game and making a fervent push late in the game, the Sharks could not catch up after they gave Calgary a 4-1 lead. The 4-3 loss featured two goals from Sharks prospect Antti Suomela, who could very well show up on the opening night roster. Timo Meier also scored for the Sharks, while the Flames got goals from Mark Giordano, Elias Lindholm, Travis Hamonic and James Neal.
The Sharks got the first power play at 2:36 when Sam Bennett went to the box for slashing Melker Karlsson. The first power play unit was comprised of Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns. The Calgary defenders pushed them out of the zone and the Sharks changed their lines to Evander Kane, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Labanc, and Tomas Hertl, with Burns staying on for most of the power play. The Sharks came away from the man advantage without a shot.
About five minutes in, Suomela and Meier had a good chance after a takeaway in the offensive zone, but Mike Smith was up to the task and stopped shots from both. Calgary answered with a nice chance of their own, but after a scramble in the crease, Martin Jones shut them down.
A flurry in front of the Calgary net started as Joonas Donskoi pushed the puck to the net and Suomelo pushed it under Smith’s pads for the game’s first goal. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Erik Karlsson. Time of the goal was 10:24.
A Thornton pass was intercepted by Mikael Backlund, who sent it to Mark Giordano, who tied the game with his fourth goal of the preseason at 11:30.
Calgary took the lead after Justin Braun was helped to the ice at the Sharks’ blue line, which allowed Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau into the Sharks zone, where Lindholm scored at 17:00.
At the end of the first, the score was 2-1 Calgary and the shots were 12-8 Calgary.
The Sharks started the second with a penalty at 1:14, a hooking penalty to Joe Thornton. It was Calgary’s first power play of the game. The Sharks’ penalty killers pushed Calgary out three times in less than a minute. The power play could not get any traction, but after the penalty expired, Calgary applied an excess of pressure and scored a third goal at 3:31. The goal was Travis Hamonic’s (his first of the preseason) with assists to Mikael Backlund and Derek Ryan.
The Sharks had a third power play at 9:19 when Matthew Tkachuk went to the box for cross-checking. That power play went nowhere, but a nice chance for Timo Meier after the penalty expired resulted in a fourth power play for San Jose at 11:21. The Sharks did not very much on that power play and almost as soon as it expired, James Neal went the other way and gave Calgary at 4-1 lead. That was his first goal of the preseason.
With Kane, Donskoi and Joakim Ryan around the net, Suomela deflected a Burns shot into the net at 18:00 of the second.
With the score 4-2 Calgary and the shots 19-18 Calgary, the second period came to a close.
To start the third period, Labanc was in for Meier with Couture and Hertl. Suomela was out on a line with Donskoi and Kane, while Meier turned up with Thornton and Pavelski.
Erik Karlsson took his first penalty as a Sharks at 5:12 of the third, called for interference on Gaudreau. The Sharks killed that off, keeping their penalty kill perfect.
That penalty kill had more practice at 8:49 when Labanc went to the box. The penalty killing unit did not look as one would expect, at least not after the first shift. Couture, Hertl, Burns and Braun were out as one unit. They were followed by Kane and Meier, who started in the neutral zone and went due north to score shorthanded. Meier got the goal, with assists to Kane and Braun.
At 14:02, Kane took issue with a hit he sustained at the Sharks’ blue line and put some people in the box. Calgary’s Sam Bennett got five for fighting, while Labanc sat in Kane’s place for a two-minute roughing penalty, and Kane himself was excused.
Despite pulling the goalie in the last minute, the Sharks could not find that fourth goal to tie the game and finished with the 4-3 loss to Calgary.
The Sharks’ next preseason game will be Sunday in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights in a 5:00 pm PT puck drop.