The last time these two teams met, Sean Monahan ended it in overtime after blowing their two goal lead. Tonight yielded some tight checking play to start followed by a burst of offence, and then not a lot of nothing happening. Oh and the Flames can't score on empty nets apparently.
First Period -
Right off the opening draw (a loss to Joe Thornton), the pace of the game was chaotic and unhinged. Melker Karlsson had the Sharks first chance but it was tipped wide. Moments later, Joe Pavelski tried to make something happen in close but Mark Giordano would use his big body presence to keep it 0-0. All within the same sequence, Gio would haul down Thornton sending the Sharks to the first power play of the game.
Nothing happened for the Sharks on their man advantage. They barely gained the Flames zone -- or even the neutral zone for that matter. For a top ten ranked PP, it was unimpressive. The Flames aggressive PK continued forcing the Sharks back into their zone for much of the man advantage and limiting them to zero shots on it. Shortly after the PP ended, Kris Russell would get cross-checked from behind by John Scott.
It would end up being a very delayed call as referees finally called it when they caught the Flames with too many men. During 4on4 play, the teams would exchange a few shots; though Giordano had the only quality shot on net. Through long lulls of nothing happening, Hiller would stop Matt Irwin bombing in on the Flames netminder. David Jones would get two great chances in close on Stalock because of a Lance Bouma zone entry.
Beyond all of that, the period ended up resulting in tight checking and not a whole lot of exciting play. Hell, Brandon Bollig even had a shot on net in the period. His hunger to enter the scoring race against the likes of Rick Nash and Alex Ovechkin is very visible now. Shots would be 10-10.
Second Period -
The tight checking play of the first period was no more. The Flames opened the middle frame on an aggressive forecheck which lead to Jones and Brendan Dillon taking off-setting minors. 4on4 play was definitely a lot more looser this time as Brent Burns had a decent shot on net. The Flames would counter with Brodie drop-passing to Hudler on the rush to keep the game moving north to south.
Joe Pavelski would trip up Gio sending the Flames back to the man advantage. The Flames would manage one shot and nothing of substantial quality but good things would come. Following an offside call, a decisive faceoff win in the neutral zone would allow Paul Byron to force his way into the Sharks zone and drop to Russell who would blast his first goal of the season past Alex Stalock.
The Flames would be sent back on the man advantage again later on thanks to Tomas Hertl. Unfortunately for the Sharks, it would be Johnny Gaudreau's tricky zone entry and pass from behind the net (which is becoming a set play almost) to Jiri Hudler in front to make it 2-0. The goal would be Hudler's 15th of the season with assists to Gaudreau (24) and Monahan (17).
Gaudreau wouldn't stop there, rushing down the ice and causing chaos around the San Jose net nearly making it 3-0. The Sharks would wake up sort of - veteran Joe Thornton's passing ability is the best in the league next to Crosby and he found Brent Burns across the ice as he blasted off a great shot on Hiller.
Gio would take a needed penalty preventing Pavelski from potentially scoring. The Flames would kill of the penalty thankfully and the Sharks only had one chance with Patrick Marleau in close on Hiller. With just under two minutes left in the period, the Flames would have zone control allowing them to set up. After Brodie's pass failed to connect, Colborne would gain possession and pass it to Mason Raymond would put home his eighth of the season.
Period would end with shots in favour of San Jose 11-10 and 21-20 for the Sharks overall.
Third Period -
A bit of concern for the Sharks to start the period as Marc Edouard-Vlasic was unavailable to start the period. He would return later on. Not a lot was happening, the pace of the game deteriorated a bit and both teams looked inconsistent. The Flames caught themselves puck watching and trapped in their own zone leading to this fantastic sequence...
That's right. John Scott scored his second goal of the season. He must have been encouraged by Brandon Bollig's first of the season the other night. I'm fairly certain that's Scott's fourth career goal as well. He's setting career highs so we should definitely trade for him.
Motivated by the goal, the Sharks seemingly woke up. It must have been because Johnny Hockey scored. Thornton would get in close and fail to pull the trigger and the Sharks took liberties controlling play at times in the Flames zone. It wouldn't get better in that time as Deryk Engelland would take an unnecessary delay of game call. The Flames PK (which was the best thing on the ice besides the goals) ensured no shots at all happened on the man advantage.
Hiller would get knocked out of position and a huge scramble ensued near the Flames net and they skated away very lucky from the sequence. At times it almost looked like the Sharks were attempting to generate something but it quickly dissipated. Mikael Backlund would be sprung on a breakaway but Stalock would hold firm. The Sharks would pull the goalie with just over two minutes left and hem the Flames in their own zone, generating quite a few chances.
That said, when they did get out; Calgary was able to attempt about four times of scoring on the empty net but failing each time as it was either blocked or a missed shot. Bouma was sprung on a near breakaway at the end but Thornton prevented the scoring chance.
Flames win 3-1. Shots for the period: 8-3 Sharks. 29-23 for the Sharks overall.
Stray Observations -
I'm going to make these short because I'm still super sick and I have to get some rest but...
- Lance Bouma looked pretty physical tonight with two huge hits. They were impressive. He still shouldn't be in the top six but what can we do? I guess we could play Sven Baertschi.
- Johnny Gaudreau's hands are not of this mortal coil. They are magical. Well, just about everything he does is magical. He seemed okay after the wrist cut in the game from the other night.
- No call on Brent Burns hauling down David Jones? I don't get it.
- John Scott is Johnny Hockey
- Hiller looked good minus the positional issues he had during some scrambles. Hell, most of the team during those scrambles was a little embarrassing. Positioning for this team is something that has never been fixed.
- Mason Raymond is scoring goals and that means HOPEFULLY that Hartley sees to use him as a top six forward in Friday's game against the Penguins. I hope.
- Kris Russell scored. That means of the team regulars, Engelland is the last person with zero goals on the season. If Bollig can score, he can...we hope.