Thornton reaches 1,500 points, Sharks beat Flames 3-1
Evander Kane, Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc scored for the Sharks, who have just two wins in their last seven games. San Jose is 8-11-2 since interim coach Bob Boughner replaced the fired Peter DeBoer on Dec. 11.
Thornton became the 14th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500-point mark, and trails Paul Coffey by 31 for 13th place.
“I’ve played with a lot of really good teams and really good players,” the 40-year-old Thornton said. “Fortunate enough to stay healthy a lot of years so it’s very, very special.”
Aaron Dell, from nearby Airdrie and who played his Junior A hockey in Calgary, stopped 30 shots for the win.
“I’ve played a few here,” Dell said. “Some of them haven’t gone so great, so I needed this one.”
“I don’t think frustration does a whole lot for you,” Flames interim coach Geoff Ward said. “I think anger does a lot more for you. … When we’re sick and tired as a group of seeing this and losing games we’ll find a way to fix it. But more than anything, you’ve got to hate losing.”
Calgary captain Mark Giordano left the game in the second period. The defenseman injured his right leg lunging to launch a sharp-angled shot. He massaged his right hamstring when he made it to the bench. After testing his leg with a short skate during a timeout, last season’s Norris Trophy winner headed to the dressing room.
“We don’t know the extent of it. We don’t know what it is,” Ward said. “We’ll worry about things as they unfold. Right now, it’s all speculation, so we’ll wait and see what the doctors say and go from there, but potentially it’s a huge loss.”
The Flames were looking for both a bounce-back game and precious points after Saturday’s 8-3 loss to Edmonton. Calgary was among five teams separated by just six points atop the Pacific Division coming in.
Labanc beat Rittich with a high backhand at 7:45 of the third period to seal the win.
The Flames outshot San Jose 16-9 in a scoreless first period.
Calgary opened the second period on the power play because of Kane’s high-sticking minor. After the Sharks flubbed a short-handed 3-on-1 chance, the Flames scored on the return trip. Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm combined on a give-and-go at 59 seconds to put Calgary up 1-0.
Burns tied it at 3:57, getting his 500th career point as a Shark, with a high slap shot over Rittich’s blocker. Thornton nabbed the puck in the neutral zone and fed Burns at the top of the faceoff circle.
San Jose went ahead at 8:02 when Kane roofed the puck on a behind-the-net feed from Barclay Goodrow.
NOTES: Calgary’s shambolic defense against the Oilers prompted changes on defense for this game with left-handed shots paired with righties. Michael Stone drew into the lineup for the first time in a month for Oliver Kylington and partnered with Noah Hanifin. Giordano and Rasmus Andersson, and Travis Hamonic and T.J. Brodie were the other tandems. … Sharks F Evander Kane played his 700th career game. ..0. Gaudreau moved into a tie for ninth in career points with the Flames, joining Hakan Loob with 428.
Sharks: At Edmonton on Thursday night.
Flames: Host Nashville on Thursday night.