Flames slip past Sharks in shootout

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[February 12, 2016]  SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks played a good old-fashioned Smythe Division-style game Thursday.

Left winger Jiri Hudler scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the visitors a wild 6-5 win over Sharks.

San Jose had a golden opportunity to win late in regulation but failed to convert on a full two-minute, five-on-three advantage, even with cold Calgary backup goalie Jonas Hiller forced to enter the game with just three minutes remaining when starter Karri Ramo injured his left leg.

"We really needed these points, and I wanted nothing more than to help the team win," Hiller said. "I'm definitely happy and excited with the way it went."

Center Logan Couture was the only one of four Sharks' shooters to score in the shootout, while center Joe Colborne converted before Hudler as the Flames won a third straight game.

"We got our chances in overtime and the shootout," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said.

In regulation, Couture had one goal and three assists. Flames center Sam Bennett finished with a goal and two assists.

Hiller stopped all seven shots he faced, including two in overtime. Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock made 17 saves.

"Kudos to him," Couture said of Hiller. "He stepped in on a five-on-three and made unbelievable saves. He saved them a couple of points."

The Sharks not only capped a three-goal comeback, but they briefly led early in the third period.

Rookie left winger Joonas Donskoi tied the game 4-4 with his ninth goal at 2:46 of the third. He tapped home a goal-line feed from Couture past Ramo, who got tangled with defenseman Ladislav Smid in front.

Rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo scored his second of the year as San Jose converted a third power play in six chances at 5:55 for a 5-4 lead.

Calgary rallied back as defenseman Kris Russell crashed the net to punch home his fourth of the season at 8:08 on the power play.

"We knew that they would come at us," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "You look at their offensive power. We knew they would get lots of pressure on us, and that's what they did. But a gutsy effort from our guys. I'm very proud of our team."

A strong second period that featured the Sharks outshooting the penalty-plagued Flames 9-4 enabled the hosts the climb back within a goal on the strength of a pair of power-play strikes.

Couture scored his fifth of the season just 48 seconds into the middle period after taking a perfect cross-ice feed from defenseman Brent Burns and beating Ramo with a wrist shot from the left circle.

Center Patrick Marleau scored his 17th to convert a five-on-three with a tap-in in front off a pass from Thornton at 11:17.

San Jose had another power play before the period expired but failed to gain the equalizer despite Thornton hitting the post with a drive from the left circle on a rush.

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"That was quite a game," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "I don't know where to start. I liked the fact we didn't pack it and found a way to get a point."

The Sharks played possibly their worst period of the season to open the game -- allowing four goals during the first 13:26 -- with wide-spread lackadaisical play all over the ice.

San Jose defenseman Justin Braun wore the goat horns on the first two goals against. His bad clearing pass was picked off by Bennett in neutral ice, and the Calgary center skated to the top of the right circle before beating Stalock with a low shot to the far corner of the net at 4:12 for his 15th goal.

The Flames needed only 30 seconds to convert a Couture minor when defenseman Mark Giordano's wrister from the left circle deflected off Braun's stick past Stalock at 5:18. Giordano's 13th goal snapped an 11-for-11 run by the Sharks' penalty kill over five games.

The Sharks rallied back briefly as Donskoi fed Tommy Wingels for the right winger's sixth goal at 8:45. However, Calgary struck twice more with goals just 40 seconds apart before the end of the period.

Calgary center Sean Monahan scored his 17th at 12:46 in close on a tap-in to cap a three-on-two break. Then center Mikael Backlund scored his eighth when he skated wide on an overaggressive Stalock and fired into the open net at 13:26 on yet another odd-man break surrendered by the Sharks.

NOTES: San Jose D Brenden Dillon sat out Thursday with an upper-body injury he sustained Tuesday at Chicago. He could return as early as Saturday. D Matt Tennyson appeared for the first time since Dec. 8. Before Thursday, the Sharks dressed the same six blue-liners in 25 consecutive games. ... LW Johnny Gaudreau, C Sean Monahan and C Lance Bouma returned to the Calgary lineup Thursday after getting scratched from the previous game. Calgary coach Bob Hartley sat the trio for breaking an unspecified team rule. All three barely made it in time for practice the day before the team's Tuesday win over Toronto. ... The Flames wrap up the quick two-day trip in Arizona on Friday, and the Sharks next host the Coyotes on Saturday. ... San Jose recalled D Mirco Mueller, who was a healthy scratch along with RW Mike Brown. ... C Josh Jooris, D Jakub Nakladal and LW Brandon Bollig did not dress for Calgary.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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