Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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Flames edge playoff-bound Sharks in shootout

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[March 25, 2014]  CALGARY, Alberta  Although they are not a playoff team, the Calgary Flames are not willingly handing points to teams headed to the NHL's postseason party.

Forward Michael Cammalleri's shootout winner continued Calgary's trend of making its mark on the Stanley Cup playoff chase, as the Flames came up with a come-from-behind, 2-1 shootout victory over the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks on Monday night.

Cammalleri had his point-scoring streak snapped at seven games, but was the lone successful marksman in the shootout before an announced Scotiabank Saddledome sellout crowd of 19,289.

"It's a fun time for us right now," said Flames forward Joe Colborne, whose second-period goal tied the score at 1. "We're having a good time and enjoying playing the spoiler right now. Every game is an opportunity to grow.

"We're trying to treat this as our playoffs. Hopefully, in years to come, it will be that we're fighting with them for a conference lead or a division lead."

The upside for the Sharks is they clinched a playoff spot for the 10th consecutive season. However, they have bigger aims: the top spot in the Pacific Division, maybe even the Western Conference and possibly the overall standings.

"Our goal is two points," San Jose center James Sheppard said. "We clinched a spot but that was coming anyways."

Sheppard opened the scoring late in the first period, taking advantage of a lucky break when the puck hit him the back, leaving Flames goalie Karri Ramo with no idea where it went and without a chance.

However, Calgary regrouped after being outplayed in the first period and drew even late in the second period. Colborne converted a feed from rookie defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon.

"We played the total team game," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "I know that Karri Ramo played well, brought us some big saves at the right time, but to pick one player of the game tonight, we could have a long list. I felt that it was a real solid team effort."

Ramo, in just his second start since missing seven weeks due to a knee injury, ended up stopping 33 shots, plus all three he faced in the shootout. He kept the Flames in the game through a first period in which the visitors held an 18-8 edge in shots on goal.

"He was the backbone of our team tonight," Wotherspoon said. "He made some big stops when we needed it and carried it along the way."

Ramo denied left winger Patrick Marleau, center Joe Pavelski and Sheppard in the shootout.

[to top of second column]

It was the 43rd one-goal game of the season for the Flames (30-35-7), whose franchise record for clashes that close is 45.

Goalie Alex Stalock stopped center Jiri Hudler and Colborne in the shootout for the Sharks, and he made 26 saves in all. San Jose (46-18-9) leads the league in shootout wins but has lost two in a row to fall to 10-7 on the season in the tiebreaking skills competition.

"We were like a yo-yo, I thought," coach Todd McLellan said. "We were very good in the first and had a good game plan and executed it. In the second, I said to our guys we were like lab rats. We wanted to try a new way and see if it would work, and obviously it didn't. In the third, we got back to it. We wasted 20 good minutes turning pucks over and playing in our end. A lot of energy was expended in that second period just to survive and get pucks out.

"It would've been nice to get the two points, obviously we're in a heck of a race for other things, so that's a little bit disappointing, but we have to move on."

NOTES: San Jose C Logan Couture limped to the room after blocking a shot late in the first period, missed 10 minutes of the second period, took one shift, then left for good. Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Couture was fine after the game, although the center is not expected to play Tuesday in Edmonton. ... Before the puck dropped on Monday's action, the Flames had the distinction of having scored the most goals of any NHL team since the March 5 trade deadline. Calgary managed 39 goals in 10 games before facing the Sharks, an impressive run for a team that was near the bottom of the league in scoring prior to the deadline. By way of comparison, the Boston Bruins, the NHL's hottest team, scored 37 in their 11 games since the trade deadline ... San Jose D Brad Stuart returned to action for the first time since suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury. To make room for him on the roster, D Matt Tennyson was sent to the AHL Worcester Sharks ... Flames G Karri Ramo's return from injury on the weekend prompted the team to send G Joni Ortio back to the minors.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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