Monahan’s OT goal leads Flames past Sharks 4-3
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Sean Monahan already has shown quite the knack for scoring overtime goals.
Monahan scored his fourth overtime goal in 120 NHL games to help the Calgary Flames win their fourth straight road game, 4-3 over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
”Everybody that plays hockey, they want to be the difference maker and I think in those times it’s do or die,” said Monahan, who is only 20. ”I want to be that guy to make the difference and lucky enough sometimes that happens.”
Dennis Wideman, Joe Colborne, Jiri Hudler also scored for the Flames, who have their longest road winning streak since taking six straight from Feb. 12-March 5, 2009.
Joni Ortio made 19 saves and has all three wins to start a crucial five-game road trip that will end at the All-Star break next week.
Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson scored for the Sharks, who have lost four of their past five home games. Antti Niemi made 19 saves.
”There are nights where we don’t execute or are sloppy sometimes it’s only half a team, tonight was a full team,” coach Todd McLellan said. ”We’re fortunate to have a point. We need to realize that. That start itself was unacceptable.”
The winning play came off a faceoff on the opening shift of overtime. Monahan won the draw from Joe Pavelski and went straight to the net. Mark Girodano got the puck at the point and sent a backhand shot that Niemi struggled to control.
Monahan then beat Justin Braun to the rebound for the game-winner just 24 seconds into the extra period.
”Monny really improved on faceoffs this year,” coach Bob Hartley said. ”It shows right there. We won the draw and won the game.”
Both teams had chances to break a 3-all tie in the third but Ortio stopped Patrick Marleau on a breakaway midway through the period. The Sharks then killed a Calgary power play shortly after that with Niemi making a strong save against Monahan to preserve the tie.
After falling behind 2-0 in a listless opening period, the Sharks responded with three quick goals to take the lead starting with Couture’s tally just 12 seconds into the second.
Calgary went short-handed for too many men on the ice and paid the price when Thornton knocked the rebound of Pavelski’s shot into an empty net for the tying goal less than 3 minutes later.
Karlsson capped the barrage when Pavelski’s centering pass hit off his skate and went into the net for his sixth goal in eight games to give the Sharks the lead. The goal was upheld on instant replay when officials ruled Karlsson didn’t re-direct the puck with a kicking motion.
Calgary tied it midway through the period on a wrist shot from Hudler in the slot, setting the stage for the third period.
”That was a great response, getting that tying goal in the second was really important for us,” Ortio said. ”That’s when we’re good. We’re good in the third period and we showed that again tonight.”
The Flames got off to a fast start with a goal in the opening minute. Wideman’s point shot got through a screen by Markus Granlund and beat Niemi just 40 seconds into the game.
Calgary kept up the intensity and even capitalized when they went short-handed for the first time in three games. Hudler’s trip put San Jose on the power play but the Sharks didn’t get many chances and then committed a costly turnover that led to a Calgary goal.
Brent Burns’ bad pass to Pavelski in his own zone led to a breakaway chance for Colborne, who stickhandled around Niemi to make it 2-0 less than 6 minutes into the game.
”We just weren’t sharp enough,” Pavelski said. ”We pride ourselves on good starts and we didn’t have it.”
NOTES: Thornton scored his first power-play goal in 97 games, since Dec. 3, 2013, at Toronto. … Flames F Curtis Glencross missed the game after leaving Thursday’s game against Arizona with a lower-body injury. Mason Raymond played in his place.