– Calgary is running out of time in the Western Conference
playoff picture. The Flames dropped a 6-3 game to the streaking San
Jose Sharks Wednesday night to remain at 85 points, settling into
tenth place in the conference with only six games to play.
SAN JOSE – Calgary is running out of time in the Western Conference playoff picture. The Flames dropped a 6-3 game to the streaking San Jose Sharks Wednesday night to remain at 85 points, settling into tenth place in the conference with only six games to play.
The Sharks, on a four-game winning streak, improved to 94 points atop the Pacific Division. San Jose, one point behind Detroit in the scramble for second place in the conference, has eight games left, beginning Thursday night in Los Angeles against the looming Kings (88 points).
In the other game involving the Pacific Division, Anaheim scored the equalizer with seven seconds left in regulation and generated the game-winner 1:42 into overtime to stun Dallas 4-3.
Patrick Marleau highlighted a strong first period for the hosts with two goals to spark a 4-2 cushion after 20 minutes. Rookie Andrew Desjardins added his first career NHL goal to aid the early Shark offensive showing.
Torrey Mitchell notched his first career two-goal game. He opened the scoring three minutes into action, then scored his ninth goal of the season at 15:50 of the second to provide San Jose with a 5-3 lead after two periods.
San Jose produced a 16-8 edge in shots on net in the first 20 minutes to set up the 4-2 advantage.
Mitchell set up the first scoring play by speeding to the left boards to control Joe Thornton’s dump-in effort. Mitchell pulled the puck back to linemate Jamal Mayers. As Mayers controlled the puck around the back of the Calgary net, Mitchell skated to the low slot. Mayers spun and fed Mitchell at the edge of the crease for the backhander past goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
The clubs spent the first 14 minutes taking turns scoring goals. The Flames made it 1-1 at 7:13 on a power play when captain Jarome Iginla netted his 34th goal of the year, a point-blank lofting of a short rebound off a Olli Jokinen shot.
Desjardins went 130 feet with a pass from Ben Eager to whip a 20-footer into the top left corner of the net at the 9:27 mark for a 2-1 San Jose edge. Flame defenseman Cory Sarich lined a low shot from inside the blueline past goalie Antti Niemi for the equalizer at 13:59.
Marleau made the difference in the first period with two goals in the closing 5:01. Marleau hit the 30-goal mark for the fifth time when he slipped behind the Calgary defense to turn a breakaway into a goal at 14:59. When Marleau’s initial pass to set up a power play created multiple shots on net from the high slot, Marleau skated around the crowd to put back a soft rebound of a Devin Setoguchi shot at 17:33 to make it 4-2.
Calgary closed to within one goal at 15:50 of the second period when Rene Bourque’s wraparound found an opening at the left post for his 26th goal of the year. San Jose retaliated with Mitchell’s second of the night, a put-back of a Joe Pavelski shot from the slot.
Rookie Logan Couture whipped his 28th goal of the season inside the left post on a 2-on-1 rush at 11:55 of the third to cap the scoring. The Sharks reached the six-goal level for the fourth time this year.
The next Sharks home game is Thursday March 31 against the Dallas Stars.