The starting lineup included Karri Ramo in net, Kris Russell and Dougie Hamilton on defense, and the surprise of the evening, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and Michael Ferland on the top line. Let's face it, this was an interesting and much-needed change made by Bob Hartley and we're pretty impressed with Ferland's ability to keep up with the likes of Johnny and Mony. They were fun to watch, and it all made us feel pretty confident when Ferland won the puck battle in front of the Sharks net which led to a goal by Sean Monahan (who desperately needed it). Even though it wasn't the strongest starting period for the Flames, things could only get better after Mony scored that goal, right....?
What a difference one period can make! But it didn't start out that way. Backlund passed the puck to the Sharks in front of the Flames net which resulted in another Sharks goal and tipped the scale even more with a 3-1 score. The passing skills had disappeared, the puck battles were just plain bad, they could barely stand on their own skates, and the Flames couldn't enter the Sharks zone. The Sharks took away any chance Calgary had of owning the puck and wouldn't allow the Flames anywhere near their goalie. But, with a 4 minute major penalty against the visitors, life was breathed into the home team and things started to change. With another penalty on top of the first one, the Flames capitalized during a 5 on 3 with a goal by Dennis Wideman after the patience and a sweet pass from Gaudreau. 15 seconds later, still on the power play, Sam Bennett notched his first goal in 19 games to tie the game 3-3 before heading into the final 20 minutes.
The third period played out like it usually does, the Flames put on a lot of last minute pressure, but it wouldn't be enough to force overtime. The final 20 minutes started out with more bloodshed as San Jose's Braun took a shot from Kris Russell to the head and left the ice in a trail of blood. Luckily, he returned to the bench later in the period. With one more goal by the Sharks and a score of 5-3, the Flames pulled out their famous last-minute push that they perfected last season. But this seasons final-minute pressure doesn't seem to be working out in their favour as often. Yes, the Flames scored to close the gap. No, they didn't tie the game again to force OT and another chance at winning the game. This one ended in a 5-4 win for the visiting team and two very significant points that help the Sharks lead the Flames in the Pacific Division standings.
Flame Of The Game
Michael Ferland. How could you not be impressed with his effort and his ease into the first line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau? He played fast, smart hockey and earned himself a goal and an assist during his 20:55 time on ice. He even made an appearance on the power play and did a rather good job of it. Add to the mix 7 hits and he was quite an impact on the team tonight in spite of the loss.
The Calgary Flames host the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night in their last of the four-game home stand.