Sharks strike twice in third period, escape with two points
The San Jose Sharks are a perfect 6-0-0 on their homestand, which ends on Sunday afternoon. (AP IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski scored late in the third period and the Sharks equaled their longest winning streak of the season with a 2-1 win over Calgary on Friday night at HP Pavilion.
On the winning goal, TJ Galiardi got the puck to the front of the net, and it eventually bounced to Pavelski’s stick, where the forward deposited his 12th goal with just two minutes and six seconds left in regulation.
San Jose won its seventh straight game for the first time since starting the season 7-0-0. The Sharks are a perfect 6-0-0 on their homestand, which ends on Sunday afternoon. Overall, they are a league-best (and fairly remarkable) 14-1-4 on home ice.
The Sharks failed to solve Miikka Kiprusoff until early in the third period. Dan Boyle found a soft spot on the ice in the high slot, and his wrist shot on a pass from Logan Couture deflected off of defenseman Dennis Wideman and past the former Sharks goaltender at 2:40.
Boyle’s seventh goal made it a 1-1 game, and was just his second at even strength this season.
Couture nearly tied the game earlier on the same shift, when his wrist shot from the circle hit the post. The third-year center raised his arms before realizing it never went in, but set up Boyle just 16 seconds later.
The Sharks dominated the first period but were not rewarded on the scoreboard, as Kiprusoff was stellar in net in turning away all 17 shots directed his way.
On an odd-man rush, Tommy Wingels sent a cross-ice pass to Patrick Marleau in the offensive zone. Marleau found Couture for an open look, but Kiprusoff smothered Couture’s attempt with 14:21 to go.
Less than a minute later, a Brent Burns shot made its way to Kiprusoff and was momentarily loose behind the goaltender. Joe Thornton and Marty Havlat poked their sticks at it in vain and it was eventually frozen.
Kiprusoff’s best save came with 4:13 to go in the first, when he snared Pavelski’s wrist shot from the circle that looked headed to the top corner.
The Flames settled down and took the lead, thanks to a hooking minor on Couture late in the period. Mikael Backlund’s wrist shot beat Antti Niemi, who may have been screened, at 17:55 to give Calgary a 1-0 lead.
The game was much more even in the second period, although neither team could score in a fairly uneventful 20 minutes. Havlat and Galiardi switched places, as Galiardi skated on the Thornton-Burns line while Havlat was with Pavelski and Sheppard. It remained that way for the rest of the game during five-on-five play.
The game was the final meeting between the Sharks and Flames this season. They split the first two, both at the Saddledome, with each winning by a 4-1 margin.
Backlund’s power play goal was the first one the Sharks allowed since March 23 at Minnesota, their last loss. They were shorthanded just seven times in their previous six games, for a total of 11 minutes and six seconds.
The Sharks finished 0-for-3 on the power play and were 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Niemi entered the game having given up just nine goals during a six-game winning streak. Making his 15th straight start, he stopped 23 of 24 shots and improved to 10-2-1 in his career against the Flames.
Kiprusoff, who is reportedly considering retirement at the end of the season, made 39 saves on 41 shots.
Newcomers Raffi Torres (sick) and Scott Hannan (neck) did not play. Torres and Jason Demers (head) are expected to be available to play by Sunday against Dallas, while Hannan is not yet skating and remains on injured reserve.
Flames defenseman Mark Giordano missed the game to be with his pregnant wife.
The Sharks close out their homestand on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Dallas. A four-game road trip begins on Tuesday in Columbus and continues with stops in Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix.