Flames fire extinguished, point streak ends in 4-1 loss to Sharks (updated)
Andrew Mangiapane teamed with a hot Milan Lucic to score a big goal in the second period. But the Calgary Flames needed much more on a strange night at the Saddledome. There were times when you could have cued up some circus music.
It took two reviews – yes, a reviewed review – to confirm that both the puck went into the net and that there was no goaltender interference on the play on Magiapane’s eight goal of the year but first in six games. it would be the only one for the Flames on the night.
“We were happy and thankful they got the call right,” said Lucic, who was originally credited with his fifth goal of the year. “We did see it go in. But unfortunately it was the only one we got tonight.”
The good news is Calgary Flames fans got to celebrate twice, and the team dominated the play from there. The bad news is they didn’t capitalize enough to avoid a 4-1 loss, their point streak ending against a San Jose Sharks team that featured a whole lot of AHL players because of a COVID outbreak.
“Give them credit. They give you zero on the rush. You’ve got to score like we scored – chip pucks and rim pucks and fight to get it back. Some guys weren’t diligent in that,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “In the end (their top guys) played a lot and they were probably better than our top guys tonight.”
Goals hard to come by against stingy Sharks
The Flames couldn’t score on the ensuing powerplay for delay of game after the coaches challenge was overruled. But they did steal back the momentum just 30 seconds after falling behind in a game they had no business trailing in when Alexander Barabanov snapped the scoreless tie with his first NHL goal.
Barabanov took advantage of a gap in Flames coverage after a line change and a long bomb pass from defenceman Brent Burns and snapped his shot from the slot past Jacob Markstrom 47 seconds into the second period.
But Lucic and Andrew Mangiapane teamed up to tie things, whacking at a loose puck with Mangiapane’s shot eventually crossing the line .
Goals were at a premium on the night despite the Flames wildly outshooting the Sharks – mounting a 27-12 lead through 40 minutes. That number was skewed by a couple of powerplays that allowed the Sharks to run up that total.
Flames powerplay lacking finish
The Flames powerplay, meanwhile, didn’t manufacture much. None of the top players did.
Dillon Dube’s stick snapping on his shot – one of their best chances in the second period – was a symbol of the puck luck not being with the Flames most of the night. Adin Hill did make a sneaky pad save on that one as he fell awkwardly.
Hill got lucky with Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk also hitting posts.
Markstrom was strong early on, especially when the Flames found themselves down a man in the opening minutes of the game. Erik Gudbranson was whistled for holding after shoving Nick Merkley down with one hand. After Gudbranson slammed the penalty box door in disgust, Markstrom slammed the door on the Sharks.
First, he squeezed his pads just enough to steer Logan Couture’s shot away from the net, then made another stop on Tomas Hertl on the penalty kill.
Couture had another juicy chance early in the third period. It looked like luck might finally side with the Flames as the puck bounced off the post and sat protected under Markstrom’s crotch. But an unlucky bounce gave the Sharks their second lead.
Couture scored his fifth of the year when his long shot hit Nikita Zadorov’s stick and changed direction on Markstrom.
Tough break. Two empty net goals from Hertl and Dahlen added insult to injury.
But beyond the bad luck, the Flames just didn’t seem to have enough gas in the tank to finish a wounded group of opponents. They’ll look to rebound starting Thursday as they begin a seven-game road trip through the Eastern Conference.
Lucic said re-setting is easy after a long point streak ends.
“Just start a new one,” he said.