The first period was a dominating effort in nearly every facet by the San Jose Sharks, as they came into the Scotiabank Saddledome and asserted themselves well in an unfamiliar arena which they had yet to play in this season.
The visitors got off to a quick start, as Logan Couture tipped home a beautiful slap-pass from star defenseman Brent Burns just prior to the halfway point of the period. The goal came while Michael Frolik was in the penalty box for a questionable slashing call.
Frolik redeemed himself just a couple of minutes later, however, when he banged home his 11th goal of the year in the crease. The goal came off of a rebound of a Deryk Engelland slap shot, and was also assisted by rookie Matthew Tkachuk.
However, the Sharks got their lead back late in the first when Brent Burns somehow floated a weak shot from the blueline past Chad Johnson. It didn't appear as if Johnson ever saw the shot, but regardless, it was perfectly-placed and put the Sharks ahead by a single goal.
Rookie goaltender (and Airdrie native) Aaron Dell got the start for San Jose in this game, and had a good first period, stopping 7 of 8 shots directed his way. Meanwhile, the Flames' Johnson was less excellent, letting in 2 goals on 12 shots.
Shots on Goal
Calgary Flames: 8 - San Jose Sharks: 12
Matthew Tkachuk dominated play during the second period. He got a ton of scoring chances and physical opportunities, and always seemed to be in the general "thick" of things when it came to instigating exciting chances for the Flames.
It all really started halfway into the period, when Tkachuk received a perfect drop pass in the slot from Mikael Backlund. Tkachuk fired a near-perfect shot at the bottom left corner of the net, but Dell managed to stick out his pad perfectly to make the save.
Moments later, Tkachuk showed his cheeky side. He surreptitiously snagged Brent Burns' stick away from him, and attempted to make it to his own bench with two sticks before being caught by a referee. Tkachuk was sent off for interference, though a good case could have been made for "holding the stick".
Finally, on a late powerplay, Tkachuk managed to make an impact on the scoresheet. Following an abysmal first half to the man-advantage, Tkachuk tipped a Mikael Backlund shot past Dell to tie the game at two goals apiece. His eighth goal of the year was also assisted by Dougie Hamilton.
The Flames managed 9 shots on goal during this period (8 of which were stopped by Aaron Dell), while Chad Johnson successfully turned aside each of the 7 San Jose shots directed his way during the middle period of play.
Shots on Goal
Calgary Flames: 9 - San Jose Sharks: 7
The third period is where things really got interesting.
Like in the second period, the action really began halfway in. This time, the Flames entered the Sharks' zone on a 3-on-2. Garnet Hathaway carried the puck on the right, and passed it to Matt Stajan in the slot. Stajan's deflected caught Dell by surprise up high, and the rebound deflected out to Matthew Tkachuk with a wide open net. Unfortunately for Calgary fans, he could not bury it, not could Hathaway on the second rebound. As such, the score remained tied at two goals apiece.
Then, Sharks forward Mikkel Boedker took over the spotlight. He slipped past the defense with just over five minutes left for a clear-cut breakaway. Boedker attempted to make a move on Chad Johnson, but was tied up by the reaching stick of T.J. Brodie, and as a result was awarded a penalty shot.
On the ensuing chance, Boedker came in with speed, and made an impressive move, but was followed all the way by Johnson, who made an easy save.
The Flames got the go-ahead goal with just over two minutes remaining. Dougie Hamilton wired home his seventh goal of the season from the right point to make it a 3-2 hockey game. Hamilton's goal was assisted by Mark Giordano and Mikael Backlund.
With Dell pulled for an extra attacker, Johnny Gaudreau appeared to be in a position to ice the game; however, he was hauled down before he could get an accurate shot away. While the #13 in red was looking for a penalty shot, he only got a two-minute minor called against San Jose.
The Flames didn't even get the best chance on their own powerplay, however, as Mikkel Boedker was sprung on yet another breakaway due to lazy coverage on the Flames' defenders' part. Boedker was sent in all alone on Johnson, took a high shot to his glove side, and was turned aside by the goaltenders' body. Boedker's breakaway came with ten seconds remaining in the game, so his miss essentially put the game away: the Flames won by a score of 3-2.
Calgary outshot the Sharks 11-8 in period three. Aaron Dell denied 10 shots (of 11) during the final frame, while Chad Johnson was perfect in denying each of the 8 shots he faced in the last 20 minutes of the game.
Shots on Goal
Calgary Flames: - San Jose Sharks:
- Chad Johnson
- Matthew Tkachuk
- Jyrki Jokipakka
- Calgary Flames - 17
- San Jose Sharks - 19
- Micheal Ferland left tonight's game with an injury, and did not return.
- The Flames have now won four straight games at home.
- Calgary is now 6-3-2 in their last eleven games at home against San Jose.
- Los Angeles now sits four points behind Calgary in the standings for the first wildcard spot in the Western Conference.
- Despite playing the least of any defender on Calgary, Jyrki Jokipakka arguably had the largest impact of any of them. He broke up numerous fantastic offensive plays in his own end, while maintaining good puck moving and jumping into the occasional rush. For that reason, he's my third star tonight.
The Flames face Mike Cammalleri and the Devils on a full moon during Friday the 13th. Puck drop goes at 7:00 PM on Sportsnet West and 960.
Tkachuk - Backlund - Frolik
Gaudreau - Monahan - Chiasson
Versteeg - Bennett - Ferland
Bouma - Stajan - Hathaway
Giordano - Hamilton
Jokipakka - Engelland
Brodie - Wideman
Michael Gould is a guest contributor to Fireside Chat who has been covering the Flames on his own blog - Follow The Flames since 2015.