Goals from Couture and Barabanov rally Sharks ahead of Flames 4-3
It’s the third time this season that the Sharks have beaten the Flames, the best team in the Pacific Division. The three victories were regulation.
“They’re a really good hockey team and we’ve played them three times this year,” Couture said. “Sometimes the best teams in the league bring out the best in us. It’s a good attribute to have.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Timo Meier also scored for San Jose (28-27-8).
Johnny Gaudreau, Dillon Dube and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary (38-17-8), which lost at home in regulation for only the second time in 19 games (15-2-2). Matthew Tkachuk had two assists.
It is also the first time this season that the Flames have lost in regulation after starting the third period with a lead (31-1-2).
“We have a 3-2 lead going into the third, at home it’s a great place,” said Matthew Tkachuk, who had two assists. “We leave a big chance ahead, somebody on their own and you can’t do that, you have to make sure that doesn’t happen. Then basically a 2 on 0 at the end, that’s a goal for any goalie in the league.
After allowing a pair of early goals, Sharks goaltender James Reimer settled in, finishing with 28 saves. He improved to 17-13-6.
Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves and lost 29-12-7.
“That’s not good enough of me. That’s what happens when you don’t get a goaltender in this league, you lose hockey games,” Markstrom said.
“He played well, obviously,” said Flames goalie coach Jason LaBarbera, who spoke to the media on behalf of head coach Darryl Sutter. “It’s a long season, there will be ups and downs for sure. But you push through and go back to work tomorrow.
Trailing 3-2 after 40 minutes, San Jose tied the game at 11:07 of the third period when Tomas Hertl worked the puck up front where Barabanov was wide open and fired a shot inside the post for his 10th goal.
The go-ahead goal came on a defensive zone turnover. Blake Coleman’s attempted pass from the boards hit Sasha Chmelevski in the skate and seduced Noah Gregor. Gregor’s shot was saved, but Couture scored on the rebound.
With the goaltender out, the Flames applied heavy pressure in the final minutes but failed to get the puck past Reimer.
The Flames took a 3-1 lead at 4:08 of the top of the second when Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson handed the puck to Gaudreau. In the two-on-one that followed, Gaudreau placed Backlund, who slipped the puck between Reimer’s pads with a backhand shot.
The Flames had a good chance to come back by three when Gaudreau was awarded a penalty shot at 14:59 of the second after being snagged from behind by Brent Burns. But Gaudreau was upset on a superb glove save by Reimer.
Less than three minutes later, the Sharks cut the deficit to one when Meier collected the puck in the corner, turned and fired a shot from a sharp angle on Markstrom and netted his 27th goal in the lead. of the team.
Calgary got off to a quick start, scoring 4:17 into the game on its first power play.
Tkachuk sent a diagonal pass from the left spot to the right faceoff circle which Gaudreau stopped with his skate, kicked his stick and shot under the crossbar.
The Flames took a 2-0 lead at 8:16 when Dube beat Reimer from the slot. Tkachuk helped.
San Jose scored after 14:54 of the game on an unassisted goal from Vlasic, who kept the puck on the blue line and fired a wrist shot that seemed to surprise Markstrom.
NOTES: The Sharks were without injured forwards Jonathan Dahlen and Matt Nieto, who are considered overnight. … Newly acquired San Jose goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen backed Reimer. … Flames trade deadline acquisition center Ryan Carpenter did not dress after arriving in Calgary on Tuesday.
San Jose: In Edmonton on Thursday to complete a two-game road trip.
Calgary: Host Arizona on Friday in Game 2 of a six-game homestand.
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