The San Jose Sharks (49-18-9, 101 points) fell to the Calgary Flames (30-35-7, 67 points) by the final score of 2-1 in what was the Sharks’ second-straight shootout loss. On the plus side they did clinch their 10th straight playoff birth once the game went into overtime.
It was a low-scoring affair in the final meeting of the season between these two Pacific Division opponent. When it comes to the Calgary Flames that is almost a given with this being the 43rd time this season they have been involved in a one-goal game, the most in the NHL.
Getting the start in net this evening was Alex Stalock who finished with 26 saves. He was strong all night in net for San Jose who looked very inconsistent at times in front of their netminder. Stalock was pretty good in the shootout again but was unable to keep his perfect record and for the first time this season conceeded a shootout goal. It was also the first blemish on his shootout record dropping him to 3-1.
Also getting into the lineup tonight were Tyler Kennedy and Brad Stuart, both of who looked strong tonight. Unfortunately, Logan Couture left the game early after blocking a shot in the first period and while he returned in the second period it was only for one shift. That loss definitely impacted the lineup since for the rest of the night the coaching staff was forced to juggle the lines. As a result, the San Jose Sharks were inconsistent, especially in the second period.
The Sharks were strong in the first and third period while the Flames dominated the second, and that showed on both the shot clock and the score.
The San Jose Sharks got on the scoreboard first with just a few minutes left in the first period when James Sheppard scored on a second chance opportunity. His goal was his second in as many games and it was a result of heading to the net. The original shot was fired by Matt Nieto from the slot that ended up hitting Sheppard in the shoulder. Sheppard was able to find the puck and it in front of him was an open net. He knocked it home and gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
However, in the second period the Flames came on strong and after being outshot 18-8 in the first were the aggressor by throwing 12 shots at Stalock as opposed to just four against.
Calgary ended up scoring in the period too when Matt Irwin got caught puck watching in the defensive end and lost sight of his guy. That guy, Joe Colborne, found himself all alone to Stalock’s left, waited for the San Jose netminder to go down, then roofed the puck to tie the game up at one apiece.
In the third period the Sharks got back to the basics and once again dominated the period. They were unable to score on Karri Ramo though, who got a little bit of help from the post when Martin Havlat hit one early on in the third period. Stalock was strong again and was forced to make a few strong saves, including a flurry of three in a row off of Curtis Glencross, even though he only faced five shots in the period.
After a scoreless overtime the game went to a shootout where Stalock stopped two of three shots, though that ended up not being enough as San Jose went 0-3 with Ramo stopping all three shots.
Overall a solid game for the Sharks, but one that they would have wanted to get another point out. Still, they are able to earn a point and clinch a playoff berth. Now they’ll have to get this loss out of their system as they head to Edmonton for the second-game of a back-to-back.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Karri Ramo (33 saves)
2. James Sheppard (1 goal)
3. Alex Stalock (26 saves)
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