Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
SAP CENTER — Shootout loss, shmoot-out loss.
Following their first stumble of the season to the Dallas Stars Thursday, there was no way the San Jose Sharks weren’t going to put up a massive fight Saturday night.
The hard-skating Calgary Flames certainly didn’t make it easy. But mounting penalties helped the Sharks prevent the visitors’ late push and hold on for a 6-3 victory, advancing to 5-0 at home.
Calgary’s penalty trouble gave way to three power play goals for the Sharks. Head Coach Todd McLellan said the numerous penalties — 15 total power plays — affected the game’s outcome:
“Our power play was, I guess you could say, dangerous on both ends. It scored us three, it allowed us to get the lead. It changed the momentum of the game. … They came into the game tonight perhaps the lowest-penalized team in the league. So, for them to take that many is usually an indication that we were moving and creating havoc at some point on the ice.”
Four players notched multi-point games, most notably Joe Pavelski, whose four-point performance tied a career high for points and goals in a game.
Pavelski wouldn’t take full credit for the win, of course, giving credit for the win to the full team:
“We came out fast and got going. We got the lead and the power play answered at the times we needed it to.”
59 seconds into the game, Pavelski fed Brent Burns the puck from behind the goal, who scooted it into the net before Flames goaltender Karri Ramo could get in front of it.
Team Teal — particularly Burns and Pavelski — had plenty of great looks, but couldn’t capitalize until 19:07, when Scott Hannan’s soft slap shot from the blue line was deflected past Ramo by Brent Burns, giving San Jose a 2-0 lead. Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl registered assists on the goal.
Calgary rookie Sean Monahan put the Flames on the board in the second period with a slap shot on the power play with Tommy Wingels in the box for hooking, cutting the Sharks lead down 2-1.
But Pavelski added some cushion to San Jose’s lead on the power play when Patrick Marleau fed him the puck right in front of the goal, giving the Sharks the 3-1 advantage.
No. 8 then returned the favor to Marleau with 1:56 left in the second stanza. Pavelski fed Marleau the puck and he took a knee in his one-time shot that widened the Sharks lead, 4-1.
McLellan said of Pavelski’s overall performance:
“Pav is, we use that term, a ‘greasy’ type player. And what that means is, he battles. … It’s never a soft issue. … I thought he was really solid. He was poised to settle things down. Real good leadership, very good vision. His goals were nice, but the vision to set Patty up for his. … Real solid night for him.”
Calgary cut the lead again at the opening of the third period. Antti Niemi slid into the splits but couldn’t block Mikael Backlund’s shorthanded shot, cutting their lead to 4-2. The Calgary threat grew when Jiri Hudler’s slap shot made the score 4-3.
Captain Joe Thornton commented on Calgary’s momentum shift in the start of the third:
“It was just strange. You don’t want to give teams any breathing room. But they just bounced on us real quick. They’re a pretty good team over there, they’re quick and they’re aggressive. We knew they weren’t going to let up.”
On their ninth — yes, ninth — power play attempt of the night, Logan Couture shot the puck from up top and Pavelski deflected it past Ramo’s block. It was Pavelski’s second goal of the game, and gave San Jose a 5-3 advantage.
Calgary pulled Ramo late in the third, but San Jose capitalized and Couture buried one in the empty net to give the Sharks their 6-3 victory.
The San Jose Sharks go on a long road trip starting Monday in Detroit against the Red Wings. Their next home game will be Saturday, November 2 against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Sharks have scored a goal in less than a minute into the game four times this season. … Scott Hannan scored his 200th career point in the first period of Saturday’s game… Antti Niemi won his 100th career game as a member of the Sharks. … Patrick Marleau extended his point-scoring streak to eight games. Marleau, Sidney Crosby (PIT) and Jiri Hudler (CGY) are the only players in the NHL to score in each of their team’s games this season.