Sharks take overtime loss to Flames, 3-2

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Sharks take overtime loss to Flames, 3-2

BOX SCORE
CALGARY Matt Stajan scored in overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the Sharks at the Saddledome on Tuesday night.

San Jose tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period on Logan Coutures 30th goal and second of the night.

On a Sharks power play, Couture alertly kept the puck in at the blue line, and gave it to Joe Thornton. The captain found Patrick Marleau at the side of the net, and Marleau patiently waited for Couture to get position in the slot for an easy marker at 1:22.

The Flames took the valuable extra point after Matt Stajan converted a two-on-one rush in overtime with 39.7 seconds left. Stajan began the rush by blocking a Dan Boyle shot in the Calgary defensive zone after the Sharks won the faceoff.

The Sharks ended their four-game road trip with a 1-1-2 mark, and host Nashville on Thursday in the first of three straight home games.

The Sharks saw a 1-0 lead evaporate in the second period.

Sven Baertschi deposited a loose puck at 5:46, shortly after the Flames had killed off more than four minutes of leftover Sharks power play time from a Curtis Glencross elbowing major late in the first.

Late in the second, Flames defenseman Mark Giordano stepped out of the penalty box to intercept an outlet pass by Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He skated the puck across the blue line before a cross-ice pass to Jarome Iginla, who buried a one-timer at 18:27 to make it 2-1 at the intermission.

The Sharks had a glorious opportunity to increase their 1-0 lead on the power play after the penalty Glencross, with four and a half minutes and a fresh sheet of ice to start the second. They didnt generate much, though, except for a shot from the circle by Patrick Marleau that was stopped by Miikka Kiprusoff.

The Flames had scored first in 11 straight games, but that streak ended early in the first period.

Thornton slipped the puck back to Brent Burns high in the offensive zone, and the defenseman shot on net. Kiprusoff left a big rebound to Couture, and the Sharks leading scorer converted just 53 seconds into the game.

The Sharks were forced to kill off three minor penalties later in the period, the last of which was cut short by an Olli Jokinen trip on Marleau.

Antti Niemi made 19 saves to suffer the loss in his eighth straight start.

Things got heated late in the first. Jason Demers cleanly hit Glencross in the Flames offensive zone, and the Calgary forward got up and retaliated by elbowing Demers into the corner glass. That earned him a five-minute major and game misconduct at 19:31. Ryane Clowe dropped the gloves with Guillaume Desbiens immediately following the hit.

The Sharks were without forward Tommy Wingels, who suffered an upper body injury against Edmonton on Monday that is not head related. Brad Winchester was reinserted back into the lineup and played on the fourth line, while TJ Galiardi took Wingels place on the third line.
Odds and ends: Logan Couture became first player in Sharks history to score 30-plus goals in each of his first two full NHL seasons. With his assist in the first period, Thornton became the 22nd NHL player with at least eight 50-plus assist seasons. Among active players, only Jaromir Jagr has more (nine). Colin White, Jim Vandermeer and Michal Handzus were the Sharks healthy scratches. Marty Havlat remains out.

Couture fights through illness to push Sharks over Lightning

Couture fights through illness to push Sharks over Lightning

SAN JOSE – Logan Couture didn’t skate against the Kings on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, but that sure didn’t mean he was feeling all that energetic to play against the Lightning on Thursday.

The 27-year-old center had a pretty rough start to his week. He was unable to finish Monday’s game against Winnipeg, and then couldn’t go on the quick road trip to Southern California on Tuesday, either.

We’ll let him explain.

"I wasn't feeling too well during the [Winnipeg] game, had an IV during that game, and came off. Didn't have enough energy to finish that game. Went home. Started throwing up a bunch and actually went to the hospital, got a couple more IVs. Slept that night, didn't make it through the night, threw up a couple more times. Didn't really get any sleep, so I talked to [Sharks trainer Ray Tufts] and he told me to stay home, and not come on the trip.
 
"Didn't get any food in my throat for about 48 hours. It was a tough little stretch, and finally yesterday I was able to get back to normal. I think it was just a stomach bug, but it hit pretty hard. I think I lost six pounds. So, it was a tough couple days.”

Despite all that, Couture managed to have an impact in the Sharks’ 2-1 win over the Lightning. And not just a minor impact, either, as he scored the game-winning goal early in the third period in a game in which the Sharks as a team were understandably sluggish at times but still found a way.

"I thought he was excellent. Gutsy effort by him coming back in,” said coach Pete DeBoer, who slightly limited Couture’s minutes.

The winning goal came when Couture’s linemates, Kevin Labanc and Joonas Donskoi, fought for a loose puck behind the Tampa Bay net. Labanc managed to poke it to Couture, who had pushed away from Tyler Johnson and found just enough space inside the far post with his shot to break a 1-1 tie on the opening shift of the third period.

Goalie Aaron Dell made it hold up, making some clutch third period saves on Ondrej Palat and Valtteri Filppula, in particular.

After allowing a bad goal in Calgary last week that cost the Sharks at least one point in the standings, Dell was outstanding on a night that his teammates needed him.

"I've given up a lot of goals in my life. I think it's pretty easy to let it go now, but I really wanted to come back and make a good impression after that,” he said.

Ryan Carpenter, familiar with Dell from their days on the Barracuda together last season, said: “He made some big saves tonight. That’s just what he does. Whenever he plays, he always does well somehow. It’s nice to be a part of it, and see him get that one tonight.”

Carpenter played a role, too, getting the Sharks a 1-0 lead with his second career NHL goal five minutes into the middle frame. He was the beneficiary of a long shift by the Sharks in the Tampa Bay end, firing in a Paul Martin feed off of Nikita Nesterov’s leg.

"That was just off a line change,” DeBoer said. “He got out there a little bit early and made a great play. Big goal for us."

The Sharks were in survival mode earlier in the game, one day after recording one of their more satisfying, complete wins of the season over the rival Kings. Tampa Bay recorded eight of the first nine shots on goal, and San Jose was having particular trouble moving the puck out of their own end and through the neutral zone. 

After Carpenter’s goal, and a remarkable power play score by Jonathan Drouin tied it, the message in the dressing room in the second intermission was to go out and win the third period.

"Guys did a good job in the locker room going out in the third and just understanding what’s at stake," Joe Pavelski said. "There’s two big points, it doesn’t matter your opponent that you’re playing, you’ve got to go find it."

They did, courtesy of Couture, even if his pads were a little looser than normal from his sudden and unexpected diet.

Instant Replay: Sharks sweep back-to-back with win over Lightning

Instant Replay: Sharks sweep back-to-back with win over Lightning

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – After missing his first game of the season, Logan Couture returned to the lineup to score the game-winning goal as the Sharks downed the Lightning at SAP Center, 2-1, on Thursday night.

Couture, who was too sick to play against the Kings on Wednesday, got his 15th of the season early in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Linemate Kevin Labanc fished a puck out from along the end wall, while Couture got just enough of the puck to squeeze it through Andrei Vasilevskiy just 22 seconds into the final frame.

Backup goalie Aaron Dell made 24 saves, as the scuffling Lightning were held to two or fewer goals for the seventh time in their last eight games.

In the third period, Dell stopped Ondrej Palat with about 13 minutes left, getting his right pad on the Tampa Bay forward’s attempt from between the circles. He stretched to deny Valtteri Filppula’s wraparound try with less than seven minutes to go, preserving the Sharks’ slim lead.

The Sharks improved to 5-2-0 in their last seven games, and swept the two-game season series with the Lightning. San Jose is 16-6-0 overall against teams from the Eastern Conference.

After a dull first period, the pace picked up in the second as the teams traded scores.

Ryan Carpenter put San Jose ahead at 5:01, as his slap shot from the circle directed in off of Nikita Nesterov’s leg for his second career NHL score. The rookie was recalled on Tuesday after a brief stint with the Sharks in November, and was playing in just his fifth game this season.

Tampa Bay responded with a gorgeous power play score by Jonathan Drouin less than two minutes later. The 21-year-old took the puck from the neutral zone and charged ahead, going right around a flat-footed Marc-Edouard Vlasic and slipping it past Dell at 6:51.

Along with Couture’s return, Joonas Donskoi also played after missing the previous three games with an upper body injury.

The Sharks won the only other game between the two teams on Nov. 12 in Tampa Bay, 3-1.

San Jose improved to 5-3-0 in the second of back-to-backs.

Special teams

The Sharks had just one power play midway through the third period, and did not score.

The Lightning brought the NHL’s fourth-ranked power play into the game, although they hadn’t scored in their previous three games. They finished 1-for-3.

In goal

Dell was starting for the second time in nine days, the shortest length time off he’s had between games this season. He improved to 5-2-0 in his first NHL season, and has allowed two or fewer goals in five of his seven starts.

Vasilevskiy fell to 10-11-2 on the season, allowing two Sharks goals on 24 shots.

Lineup

Rookie Timo Meier was scratched for the first time since he was recalled in mid-December, dealing with what the team called a minor upper body injury. Micheal Haley was surprisingly placed on injured reserve before the game with an lower body injury. Mikkel Boedker was benched for the third period.

Tampa Bay remains without Steven Stamkos, who has been out since mid-November with a torn miniscus, while top defenseman Victor Hedman missed his third straight due to illness.

Up next

A pair of games against the putrid Avalanche, who are buried in last place in the Central Division and are the worst team in the NHL, is up next for San Jose. Saturday marks the SAP Center return of Matt Nieto, who was claimed off of waivers from the Sharks on Jan. 5.

The Sharks visit Pepsi Center on Monday for the second of the home-and-home, are in Winnipeg on Tuesday, and play their final game before the All-Star break at home next Thursday against Edmonton.