The Flames needed ANY type of win and they would clinch the Pacific Division title, the Western Conference title and home ice advantage throughout the Western Conference Playoffs. And they did just that! The Flames dispatched the San Jose Sharks 5-3 Sunday night and will finish the season as the top dog in the West.
This one started out auspicious as San Jose would get the game’s first marker and take an early 1-0 lead. Timo Meier would collect a loose puck off a Calgary clearing attempt and snipe the top corner, blocker side to beat Mike Smith and just like that the Sharks had a one goal lead. Had.
Calgary would come roaring back and expose a tired San Jose team with three straight goals of their own off the sticks of Sean Monahan, Mark Jankowski and of all people, Dalton Prout. Any momentum the Sharks had was gone and Calgary would control this game from that point on.
The Michael/Mikael’s, Frolik and Backlund would round out the scoring for Calgary as they would each pot a goal in the second and third periods respectively to put this one away and get the weight of clinching off the Flames back and their 105th point and win #49 on the season.
1st: 14:58- Monahan (34) (Gaudreau/Andersson), 15:29- Jankowski (12) (Neal/Czarnik), 16:13- Prout (1) (Mangiapane/Hathaway)
2nd: 7:27- Backlund (21) (Hanifin/Gaudreau)
3rd: 8:25- Frolik (16) (Giordano/Tkachuk)
1st: 12:01- Meier (30) (Donskoi/Couture)
2nd: 5:23- Couture (27) (Meier/Hertl)
3rd: 16:34- Labanc (15) (Heed/Ryan)
The Flames took control of this contest once Sean Monahan netted his 34th goal of the season. You could see the momentum change and the Flames never looked back.
Mike Smith once again had a solid game, despite not being tested much until the third period. Coming into the final frame he had only seen nine San Jose shots and his “work load” slightly increased with six total shots in the third period.
Most importantly the Flames looked like a team ready for the playoffs. Sure, San Jose was a team drained from snapping a seven game losing streak Saturday night against Vegas, but Calgary didn’t allow the Sharks to really gain any traction after that opening goal. Calgary got contributions from up and down the lineup tonight including the recently resurrected James Neal. Neal had an assist tonight, marking the second straight game he’s had a point. He also played the physical role as he lead the Flames in hits with five and looked like he’s getting into playoff mode.
Flame Of The Game
Mark Giordano (D): The Captain had his usual all around solid game tonight and it’s kind of a big deal because he was playing against Brent Burns, the consensus Norris Trophy pick. Whatever. Giordano had an assist on the night, was a +3, had three hits and blocked four shots. Burns? No points, -1, no shots, one blocked shot and two giveaways. We’ll take The Captain any day.
4/1: Calgary Flames @ LA Kings 8 PM MT