Flames Roast Sharks 5-3, Sharks to Face Las Vegas in First Round

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks fell 5-3 to the Calgary Flames at SAP Center Sunday. The win clinched the Western Conference for Calgary, while the loss cemented San Jose’s playoff position at second in the Pacific Division. They are now certain to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Calgary goals came from Sean Monahan, Mark Jankowski, Dalton Prout, Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc. Flames goalie Mike Smith made 12 saves in the win, while Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 23 saves in the loss.

The Sharks are still without Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson and Radim Simek. Pavelski and Karlsson are expected to return for the playoffs if not before. Asked about what he hopes the team will accomplish before playoffs, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said:

I want to get healthy. I think that’s probably the biggest thing. I think it catches up to you. You know, you can go to the well so many times with guys but I think we’re missing some of our key people here. And it shows in a game like that, against a team that is healthy at this time of year that’s one of the top teams in the league and we had a hard time with it.

After the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon was also asked about how the injury list changes the game. He said:

I don’t think defense is one guy or one D-pair or one forward or one goalie, to be honest. I think for us, over the years that’s kind of been our brand of hockey, is defensive style, and you definitely see the result when we get away from that. I think all around we’re trying to be a little more aggressive but I think we’ve got to kind of find that happy medium for it.

Timo Meier gave the Sharks an early lead 12:01 into the first period. Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi were in the corner competing for the puck against two Flames. They got the puck out of the corner to the face-off circle, where Meier had just arrived. He got control of the puck while reversing direction just enough to use a defenseman as a screen and shoot the puck past Smith on the far side. It was Meier’s 30th of the season, a career high. Donskoi and Couture got the assists.

The Sharks made it through the first 10 minutes of the opening period without giving up a goal but the Flames heated up in the second half. At 14:58, Sean Monahan tied the game with a quick shot off a feed from Johnny Gaudreau. While Marc-Edouard Vlasic harried Gaudreau and Justin Braun guarded the passing lane, no one was really on Monahan as he slid up to the blue paint. Assists went to Gaudreau and Rasmus Andersson.

At 15:29, Mark Jankowski gave Calgary the lead, pulling the puck out of a crowd that was moving across the slot. His quick shot went under Dell to the back of the net. Assists went to James Neal and Austin Czarnik.

Less than a minute later, again, the Flames scored to make it 3-1. Dalton Prout, with his first goal since 2016, snuck by Vlasic and Couture in the neutral zone to chase the 1-on-1 between Tim Heed and Andrew Mangiapane. Mangiapane passed to Prout as they approached the net and Prout’s shot beat Dell. Assists went to Mangiapane and Garnet Hathaway.

During the first period, the Flames had 11 shots to the Sharks’ 6, and Calgary own 67% of the face-offs.

The only goal in the second period went to the Flames when Mikael Backlund made it 4-1 at 7:27. Receiving Noah Hanifin’s pass from the boards, Backlund stopped it with his skate and tried to get control of it but failed. Instead, it pinballed across the goal mouth and the off of Joakim Ryan’s skate and into the net. Assists went to Hanifin and Gaudreau.

The Flames out-shot the Sharks 14-3 and won 56% of the face-offs in the second period. The Sharks took two penalties to Calgary’s one.

The Sharks had a little more than a minute of power play time to start the third period, and got another power play at 2:01 but did not score on either of those.

At 5:23, the Sharks finally got one back. Tomas Hertl made a big zone entry, pushing through and dancing around defenders. He carried the puck down below the face-off dot before passing it across the ice to Timo Meier. Meier sent it back across the ice to Logan Couture, who had just arrived in the slot. His shot went in before Mike Smith could get across. It was Couture’s 27th goal of the season. Meier and Hertl got the assists.

Calgary took that one back about three minutes later. Sharks and Flames converged behind the Sharks net and when the puck came back out, Mark Giordano and Michael Frolik were set up on either side of the ice with a clear view of Dell. Giordano passed it to Frolik for the shot and Dell could not get across in time. Assists went to Giordano and Matthew Tkachuk.

Kevin Labanc got one more for the Sharks at 16:34 of the third. He had just passed the puck to Tim Heed in the slot and Tim Heed tapped it right back to him for the shot from the right side. It was Labanc’s 15th of the season. Assists went to Heed and Joakim Ryan.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Vancouver against the Canucks at 7:00 PM PT.

Evander Kane Scores Four Goals and Nets First Career Hat Trick, Sharks Douse Flames 7-4

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Calgary Flames 7-4 at the Scotiabank Saddledome  on Friday night. The Sharks scored seven goals compared to the Flames’ four goals. New Sharks left wing Evander Kane scored four of those goals, tying the Sharks’ record for most goals in a game. The other Sharks who scored that many goals were Owen Nolan, Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau.

Hertl, Kevin Labanc and Eric Fehr scored the remaining balance of goals for San Jose. Johnny Gaudreau, Troy Brouwer, Mark Jankowski and Michael Ferland scored for Calgary.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said this about Evander Kane:

It’s always a special night when someone can score three, and then for him to get that fourth, you know, it’s pretty cool to see. He’s definitely made a huge impact on us as a team, on his teammates. And, you know, he’s been one of those guys driving the bus here for the last week or two and he came through big for us tonight.

The Sharks started the game on the right foot. Just five minutes in, Timo Meier seemed to have scored, but his stick was above the crossbar when he touched the puck.

Undeterred, Kane scored only a minute later. Kane took a rising wrist shot from just below the blue line as he raced into the zone. Mike Smith missed the puck with his glove as it fell toward the goal. Jannik Hansen got the lone assist.

The Sharks had a power play after Mikkel Boedker was tripped up on a breakaway 37 seconds after the goal, but they did not get a shot on goal.

Gaudreau left the ice briefly after a collision with two Sharks players, seeming to severe  his arm or hand, but nothing was wrong and he quickly returned to the ice.

Brouwer tied it up with 3:18 left in the period. Sharks goalie Martin Jones had come out to handle the puck, but he was back in the net before Brouwer took his shot from the slot. Curtis Lazar made the pass to Brouwer from below the goal line. Assists went to Lazar and Matt Stajan.

The Flames took the lead at 2:10 of the second period. Mark Jankowski was high in the faceoff circle when Meier pulled the puck out of a crowd and tried to pass it to some Sharks defensemen in the middle of ice. Jankowski intercepted it and took a quick shot that went over Jones’ shoulder. A lone assist went to Garnet Hathaway.

The Sharks’ Melker Karlsson drew a holding the stick penalty that gave the Sharks their second power play at 2:45. This time, they did get a shot on goal, but they also gave up a two-on-one short-handed chance.

After the power play, Tierney was moved to the top line with Pavelski and Kane. With that line on the ice, Dylan DeMelo took a shot from the blue line and Kane tipped it in to tie the game again at 6:29. DeMelo and Brenden Dillon picked up the assists.

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer made another line change, putting Fehr, Karlsson and Meier together. They created a good chance almost eight minutes into the second, getting two shots on goal.

The Flames took the lead again at 10:16. Gaudreau skated in with the puck, handled it around two Sharks players near the boards, then darted to the slot before taking the shot. Assists went to Ferland and Michael Stone.

Labanc tied it again at 11:42, with a wrist shot from the left side, using a Calgary defenseman as a screen. Brent Burns got the lone assist.

The Sharks found themselves on the wrong side of two penalties close together, starting at the 12:24 mark. They had to defend 45 seconds of five-on-three after Kane joined Tierney in the box. The Sharks killed all of that off, but they seemed to have burned some fuel doing so.

With a little over three minutes left in the second, Tierney got control of the puck behind the net after Pavelski pushed it through a board battle. Tierney found Kane in front of the blue paint with a quick pass. Kane took a shot, then caught the rebound and took another shot to net his first NHL hat trick.

The Sharks extended their lead with only 1:58 left in the second period. Justin Braun carried the puck in along the boards and sent the puck to the net. Hertl was right there at the crease to tap the puck under the goaltender. Assists went to Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The third period went all wrong for the Flames. Pavelski took a shot from the blue line just as Mike Smith was getting settled after a trip behind his net to retrieve the puck and play it not very well. Kane was standing by to deflect it in for his fourth of the game, just 1:02 into the period. With that goal, Kane tied the Sharks record for most goals in a game.

That was it for Mike Smith. David Rittich came in to replace him.

Calgary coach Gen Gulutzan decided to pull his goaltender for the extra skater with almost six minutes still to go. The move paid off with Micheal Ferland parked in front of the net while the Flames moved the puck relentlessly around the Sharks’ zone. When the shot finally came, Ferland put the puck in with a backhand shot from a tight angle.

Fehr scored the Sharks’ seventh goal into the still empty net at 16:02. Hertl got an assist on that one.

The Sharks next play on Saturday in Vancouver at 7:00 pm PT.

After being injured Wednesday in Edmonton, Joonas Donskoi remained out and was replaced by Jannik Hansen for tonight’s game. There was no timetable for Donskoi’s return yet.