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Flames sweep journey through California with win in San Jose

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Matthew Tkachuk celebrates his Calgary Flames goal against the San Jose Sharks on April 7, 2022.

A swing through California proved to be a dream trip for the Calgary Flames, and at a critical point of the season, to boot.

Elias Lindholm scored twice for his 37th and 38th goals of the season on primary assists by linemate Matthew Tkachuk, who also tallied, to pace the Flames to a 4-2 win on Thursday over the host San Jose Sharks.

The win was the Flames’ third in a row, having beaten the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks their previous two games, and their first over the Sharks this season. Calgary had lost its other three 2021-22 matchups with Pacific Division rival San Jose.

Tkachuk, with his 34th goal of the season (tying a career-best), opened the scoring in the first period, grabbing the puck from a bumbling Timo Meier at the Sharks blue line, skating in alone and beating goalie James Reimer high glove side 7:19 into the frame.

The Sharks got on the board seven minutes later when a Jaycob Megna shot from the point ricocheted off teammate Nick Bonino’s skate past Flames goalie Dan Vladar.

With 55 seconds left in the first, the Flames re-established the lead when winger Trevor Lewis scored on a drive to the net, beating Reimer as he tucked the puck inside the post.

Lindholm scores twice

Lindholm scored his first of the game on a drop pass from Tkachuk, wristing it from the top of the left faceoff circle at 13:30 to put the Flames up 3-1.

The Sharks cut the Flames’ lead to one at 12:24 of the third period when Meier banks a shot from the corner off the back of teammate Logan Couture’s leg and past Vladar to make it 3-2.

Lindholm potted an empty-net goal with 32 seconds left to secure the victory, final score 4-2.

Leading Flames scorer Johnny Gaudreau finished the game with two assists to run his season points total to 99, tying his career-high from the 2018-19 campaign.

The win, combined with an Edmonton Oilers’ victory Thursday over the Kings, keeps the Flames six points ahead of their second-place provincial rivals atop the Pacific Division. The Flames, who have 11 games remaining in the regular season, have one game in hand on the Oilers.

The Flames conclude their four-game road trip to the U.S. west coast on Saturday against the Kraken in Seattle (5 p.m.) before returning home to face them again on Tuesday.

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