Sharks lose in shootout, but clinch playoff spot
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Despite it occurring in a loss, the San Jose Sharks were still happy to clinch a playoff spot on Monday night.
Mike Cammalleri scored the only goal in a shootout and the Calgary Flames edged the Sharks 2-1.
The Sharks clinched a postseason berth by gaining a point.
”It was probably an inevitability but there is satisfaction in clinching,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said.
”That was one of the goals that we set out to do and they’ve accomplished that. It would’ve been nice to get the two points, obviously we’re in a heck of a race for other things so that’s a little bit disappointing, but we have to move on.”
The Sharks’ lead atop the Pacific Division is two points over Anaheim, but the Ducks have two games in hand.
”We were going to clinch no matter what. It was just a matter of time,” Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. ”We’ve just got to continue to get points. It would’ve been nice to get two but we’ll take the one.”
San Jose wraps up its short two-game road trip in Edmonton on Tuesday night.
Karri Ramo had 33 saves for the Flames and stopped Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and James Sheppard in the shootout.
Cammalleri entered the night tied with Jarome Iginla for the most goals since the trade deadline (nine) and tied with Dallas’ Tyler Seguin for the most points over that same period (15).
”We played the total team game. I know that Karri Ramo played well, brought us some big saves at the right time, but to pick one player of the game tonight, we could have a long list. I felt that it was a real solid team effort,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said.
Joe Colborne scored in regulation for Calgary. The Flames have won 10 of their past 13 on home ice.
”Let’s play well at home, let’s get a swagger in this building,” Hartley said. ”I think the fans are unbelievable, they’ve been behind us since the start of the season. The way we’re playing right now is maybe a small way to say thank you for all our great support.”
It was also Calgary’s league-leading 43rd one-goal game. That’s two away from the club record of 45 set in 2005-06.
”It’s a tough test whenever San Jose comes in and the fact that we were able to match them and pull one out in the shootout is pretty special,” Colborne said. ”We hope to be battling them for a divisional or a conference lead sooner rather than later so it’s a huge experience for us.”
Sheppard scored in regulation for San Jose. It’s his second goal in as many games for Sheppard, matching his output from the season’s first 56 games.
After being outplayed much of the first period, Calgary had a much better second.
Early on, Alex Stalock had to be sharp, throwing up his blocker to deny Sean Monahan from the slot and stopping Kris Russell from in close after he was set up neatly by Kenny Agostino.
The Flames kept up the pressure and it eventually paid off on Colborne’s ninth goal at 18:00, the result of a heady play by rookie defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon.
Playing his 10th NHL game, the 21-year-old faked a shot and sent a perfect cross-ice pass to Colborne, alone at the side of the net, who buried it over Stalock as he desperately slid across.
”That’s an all-star play right there,” said Colborne, who has five goals in the past 11 games.
”Not too many guys can fake a shot, head up, and find me back door – flat pass through the seam. That was an all-world play.”
After missing six weeks with a knee injury, Ramo’s first two starts since his return have been strong. Saturday night he stopped 24 of 25 in the Flames’ 8-1 win in Edmonton.
One area he had struggled in were shootouts going 0 for 3 and stopping just 6 of 14 shots coming into Monday’s game.
”It’s a tough situation. It’s something that I have to better at, I need to make more saves,” Ramo said. ”We took a look at the shootouts when I had a little bit of time off so we decided to change some things and work on that and today it worked and that was a good thing, it gives you confidence.”
Ramo moved to 13-10-4.
Stalock had 26 saves. He hasn’t lost in regulation in his past six starts (4-0-2) and is 11-4-2 on the season.
”A point in any game in this league is good, especially on the road. Two points were right there. It would’ve been huge, obviously, for the race for the Pacific,” Stalock said.
”Obviously our goal was to make the playoffs but everybody in this room knew that we should make the playoffs. It’s an honor to make the playoffs. Not everyone can. Now the last nine are about positioning.”
Notes: San Jose D Brad Stuart (upper body) returned after missing 13 games. … San Jose has the fourth-longest playoff streak in North American professional sports. They trail Detroit Red Wings (22), San Antonio Spurs (16) and Denver Nuggets (10).