San Jose clinched a playoff spot for the 10th straight season by forcing overtime, but the Calgary Flames downed the Sharks in a shootout on Monday at the Saddledome, 2-1.
The Sharks (46-18-9, 101 points) moved two points ahead of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, but the Ducks have two games in hand and own the tiebreaker of more regulation/overtime wins.
Mike Cammalleri was the only player to convert in the skills competition, coming on Calgary's third try. It was the first shootout goal that Alex Stalock allowed in 13 attempts, as he fell to 11-4-2. The Sharks had won seven straight shootouts before losing two straight, including Saturday's game against Washington. Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and James Sheppard all failed to score on Karri Ramo on their tries.
San Jose also lost Logan Couture to injury, as the center was forced from the game after blocking a Mark Giordano slap shot on a Flames power play in the first period. Couture returned for a shift midway through the second period, could not continue, but the injury is not a serious one according to head coach Todd McLellan. Couture is questionable to play on Tuesday in Edmonton.
[RELATED: Couture hurt in Sharks' game vs. Flames]
The Sharks controlled most of the first period in taking a 1-0 lead, but Calgary had the better second and tied it before the second intermission.
Sheppard’s second goal in as many games opened the scoring. The play began with Matt Nieto aggressively cutting to the slot, and directing it towards the net. The puck hit Sheppard in the back and fell to the ice before Sheppard deposited it into the open cage at 18:11.
The Flames outskated San Jose in the middle frame, and Joe Colborne made it 1-1 at the 18-minute mark. A slick pass through the slot by rookie Tyler Wotherspoon set Colborne up for his ninth goal after Matt Irwin lost track of the forward. Colborne aimed it high over a pad-stacking Alex Stalock.
San Jose had an 18-8 edge in shots in the first, but Calgary had 12 of the 16 attempts at the net in the second. The Sharks ended the game with a 34-27 advantage on the shot clock.
The Sharks won the first three games of the season series, but dropped the final two.
The Sharks took three hooking minors in the game, two by Joe Thornton, for their only penalties of the game. Calgary was 0-for-3 on the power play, while San Jose was 0-for-2.
The Sharks have allowed just one power play goal in their last nine games (19-for-20).
Stalock finished with 26 saves on 27 shots in just his second start in the last 10 games. He started all three of the Sharks’ games in Calgary this season, going 1-1-1.
Ramo made 33 saves and improved to 13-10-4.
Defenseman Brad Stuart (upper body) played for the first time since Feb. 7, the final game before the Olympic break. He replaced Scott Hannan on the blue line.
Raffi Torres, who has not played since March 8, was placed on injured reserve before the game.
The Sharks visit Edmonton on Tuesday in the second of a back-to-back. The Oilers have not played since getting walloped 8-1 on Saturday against Calgary.
San Jose returns home to host Winnipeg on Thursday, and visits Colorado on Saturday afternoon to close out the week.