Flames beat Sharks 4-1 to win fourth straight
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Two weeks after a seven-game home losing streak, the Calgary Flames are giving their fans something to cheer about.
Mark Giordano scored the winning goal and Karri Ramo made 27 saves as the Flames knocked off the San Jose Sharks 4-1 on Thursday for their fourth consecutive victory – all of them at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The win over San Jose comes two nights after Calgary knocked off the reigning Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.
”I would say tonight, by far, is probably our best team win of the season,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. ”As a coaching staff, we cannot be more happy than we are right now. Those guys deserve the credit. We beat quite a hockey club tonight. From Karri Ramo to the six D to the four lines, everyone is chipping in.”
San Jose has dropped three in a row, scoring one goal in that stretch. The Sharks (34-15-6) lost 1-0 to Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, and 3-0 in Edmonton on Wednesday, thanks to Ben Scrivens’ record-setting 59 saves.
”It’s a big concern of ours right now,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. ”In our last eight games, we’ve only scored 13 goals and 10 have them have come from three players. Obviously with injuries and every team goes through them, you need others to pick up the slack and we’ve got to find that.”
Giordano was in the right place at the right time to help the Flames increase their lead to 2-0 at 3:38 of the second. Mikael Backlund’s shot missed the net but the puck caromed sharply off the end boards and out the other side, where Giordano rifled it in the short side as goaltender Alex Stalock scrambled across.
”There wasn’t much room for Backs and I knew he was going to shoot it so you’re just trying to read the rebound,” Giordano said, ”and with the new nets with them being a bit shorter, it comes out at different angles and the goalie doesn’t really have a chance to get across.”
It was the ninth goal of the season for Giordano, who extended his career-high point streak to eight games (four goals, four assists).
”I wouldn’t have believed it (was possible). It just seems like I’m getting a couple of bounces,” he said. ”I’m trying to be aggressive and it seems the puck’s coming to me at the right spot.”
Lee Stempniak and rookie Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary (20-27-7), and Jiri Hudler added an empty-net goal. Backlund and Dennis Wideman each had two assists.
The Flames, who are enjoying their longest winning streak since reeling off five victories in a row in March 2012, are 4-0-0 with one game to go on a five-game homestand.
”Sometimes it goes this way,” Ramo said. ”The main thing is we kept working and nobody gave up when things were bad. Everybody learned from those and we started to do the right things.”
Eriah Hayes scored his first NHL goal for the Sharks.
San Jose was held to eight shots in the first period but racked up 13 in the second, including multiple chances to score on Ramo. In one mad scramble around the Flames’ net, Hayes nearly scored only to have the puck cleared off the goal line by Giordano.
The Sharks finally cashed in 46 seconds into the third. After Chris Butler lost the puck in front of his net, a quick passing sequence with Tommy Wingels and Patrick Marleau set up Hayes less than 15 feet away and he buried a quick shot over Ramo’s glove.
”We’re getting tons of chances, great opportunities right in front like that,” said Hayes, playing his 13th NHL game after being recalled from Worcester of the AHL on Jan. 4. ”It’s a little frustrating right now that the bounces aren’t going our way. Once the bounces start going our way, we’re going to be scoring a lot of goals.”
Hayes’ score ended a drought of 160 minutes, 36 seconds for the Sharks.
”I think we just need to get back to finishing,” captain Joe Thornton said. ”We haven’t finished particularly well in the last three games and it’s definitely shown on the scoreboard. You’ve just got to concentrate in that last half-second to see where you’re going to shoot and put it in.”
The Flames restored their two-goal cushion after Ladislav Smid’s shot went wide and bounced out the other side for Joe Colborne, who directed it in front for Monahan. The rookie redirected it out of the air for his team-leading 15th goal.
”Obviously, it’s a different feeling in the room right now,” Monahan said. ”We have confidence as a group, we’re sticking together, working hard and we’re having fun doing it.”
NOTES: The Sharks’ record scoreless drought is 190:22 set in February 2007. … Calgary LW Mike Cammalleri (concussion) missed his ninth game. He is back practicing with the team and hopes to play Saturday against Minnesota. … Tyler Kennedy (lower body) did not play for San Jose. He was hurt Wednesday night in Edmonton.