Backlund leads Flames past Sharks for 7th straight home win
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) It took three weeks, but the Calgary Flames finally got another win in regulation.
Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist to lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was their first regulation win since they beat the Devils 3-2 at home on Nov. 17.
The Flames have now won three straight overall and seven straight at home but they needed extra time for the last three victories – in overtime against Chicago on Nov. 20, in a shootout over Dallas last Tuesday and in overtime over Boston last Friday.
''When I worked in the plant I liked overtime because I got paid time-and-a-half, but wins in regulation are a little easier on coaches and general managers,'' Calgary coach Bob Hartley said.
Backlund set up the winning goal by Michael Frolik early in the second period before adding an insurance marker.
''Winning seven in a row at home gives you a nice confidence boost,'' said Backlund. ''We've been playing some good hockey. Those comeback wins have been huge for us too. Without those we would have been further out of a playoff spot.''
Markus Granlund and Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames, who lost 5-2 at San Jose on Nov. 28. Dennis Wideman and Mark Giordano added two assists each.
''We had some shifts where we really controlled it in their zone and did a little bit of what they did to us in their barn the other week,'' Giordano said.
Chris Tierney and Joe Thornton scored for the Sharks, who lost their fourth straight game.
''They got the lead and were moving the puck around and we were on our heels a bit,'' said San Jose captain Joe Pavelski, who wasn't pleased that the Sharks gave Calgary seven power-play opportunities.
''They are a much better team at home. They've showed that this year. They have that confidence. We had them on a back-to-back (on Nov. 28) and we were a bit more fired up. You add those things up and you spot them all those power plays, it's tough.''
Logan Couture made his return to the San Jose lineup after missing 23 games with a broken right fibula. He had an assist on Thornton's goal.
''It looked like his first game back in 23,'' said San Jose coach Peter DeBoer, who noted that Couture showed a lot of courage for making an earlier-than-expected return. ''I can count on one hand the number of practices he's had. We knew that he was going to have to work himself in and that's what it looked like tonight.''
Karri Ramo, who has started three straight games and 15 of the past 16 for the Flames, made 31 saves to earn his ninth win of the season.
Martin Jones started in net for the Sharks and stopped 11 of 14 shots he faced before being replaced by Alex Stalock, who made 17 saves in relief.
Granlund opened the scoring on the first shot of the game at 1:45 when he took a cross-ice feed from Jiri Hudler and snapped a shot over Jones' blocker to the top corner.
The Sharks pulled even at 4:31 when Tierney swatted a rebound past Ramo, who stopped the initial backhand shot from the slot by Joonas Donskoi.
Monahan put the Flames up 2-1 during a power play at 8:07, but the Sharks responded with a power-play goal of their own by Thornton, who redirected a shot by Patrick Marleau at 11:02.
Frolik scored on a backhand at 2:27 of the second to put the Flames back up. Monahan one-timed a pass from Johnny Gaudreau a short time later but it was waved off after video reviewed showed that the Flames had gone offside on the play.
Calgary took a 4-2 lead at 8:59 of the second when Backlund snapped a shot from the slot past Stalock.
The Sharks outshot the Flames 9-8 in the third but couldn't get any pucks past Ramo, who made a nice glove save to stop a point shot by Brent Burns during a late power play.
NOTES: Both teams were missing key defensemen due to injury. The Sharks were without Marc-Andre Vlasic (lower body) for the second straight game, while Kris Russell (upper body) missed his second game in a row for Calgary. … The Flames had just one goal in their previous 28 power-play chances before Monahan's goal.
- Calgary Flames
- Chris Tierney
- Dennis Wideman
- Joe Thornton
- Karri Ramo
- Logan Couture
- Mark Giordano
- Markus Granlund
- Michael Frolik
- Mikael Backlund
- San Jose Sharks
- Sean Monahan