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Roast turkey comes early
Sharks serve up Flames win on a platter
11/26/14 - By Mike Lee -

With the Sharks falling on their faces on Thanksgiving eve, it would be too easy to make comparisons to the birds that will be adorning many of your dining room tables on Thursday. So let's step things up and be a little more graphic. The Sharks played more like turkey droppings on Wednesday night, falling 2-0 to the Calgary Flames at SAP Center.

Coming off of four-days rest and plenty of practice, the Sharks looked flat and tired. Having played in Anaheim 24 hours earlier, the Flames should have been the fatigued team. Instead, Calgary simply sat back and let San Jose's disjointed attack do nothing more than run clock.

In typical fashion, the Sharks fired lots of harmless long range pucks on Flames goaltender Karri Ramo, generating few true scoring chances. They had another 30 shots blocked, which is customary for attempts that are coming from the safety of the perimeter. Ramo faced no real challenges from inside the dots.

"Obviously it's tough to win in this league, especially when you don't get clutch performances from your goalies on the road," said Flames head coach Bob Heartly. "Look how many blocked shots we had. I thought we had good zone time offensively, then we scored a big goal four on four. So hey, played back to back like Anaheim last night and those guys tonight, they are not easy teams to play against, but we responded real well once again."

Sharks players are either unwilling to make sacrifices from uncomfortable places, or they're being coached to invoke an antiquated approach that isn't working. NHL goaltender's aren't giving up rebounds off long shots. Not Ramo or any of the other goaltenders who have handcuffed the Sharks this season.

Todd McLellan's plan isn't working. The opposition is ready for McLellan's tired old game plan. The sharks coach chose to focus on what his team did right following the game.

"We're a result based league and not happy with the results," said McLellan. "The effort was there. We had some opportunities to score, obviously. For whatever reason, they're not going in. Defensively we didn't give up much. I thought the weakest shift we had was the very first one when they got two or three scoring chances. After that we played pretty well defensively. Didn't give up much."

Didn't do much either.

With little threat of any challenges by the Sharks offense, the Flames needed little to take control of the game. They received all the offense they would need from Jiri Hudler late in the 2nd period.

The Flames played a textbook road game. Don't let the opposition generate any offense (not that the Sharks made that difficult), then pounce on your own offensive chances. Hudler did that with 2:44 left before the 2nd intermission, by snapping a shot past Antti Niemi from the slot after TJ Brodie hit him with a pass from the right corner.

Playing in his first game since being recalled from Worcester, defenseman Matt Tennyson was late to create any opposition to Hudler, and Logan Couture simply let the Flames forward skate past him in the danger zone.

Even when San Jose had chances to get a puck past Ramo, simple mistakes prevented any chance for scoring. Patrick Marleau had Ramo dead to rights early in the 3rd period, but a cross ice pass that found Marleau parked on the left post, stuck on his stick. The puck hit Marleau right on the tape, but the Sharks forward couldn't control it enough to push it into the wide open net.

Special teams failures also prevented any chance for a win. The Sharks had a pair of power play chances, but both proved fruitless.

With time winding down in the 3rd period, Justin Braun put a nail in his own team's coffin by taking an inexcusable tripping penalty. The Sharks were left with 1:44 to try and score the tying goal, while down a man.

The Sharks pulled Niemi as soon as the puck crossed into the Flames zone, but a quick turnover ended up on Hudler's stick as he walked the puck into the empty net for his 10th goal of the season.

When Heartley was asked about his team's success, he summed it up simply.

"Character--it starts with our captain. We have lots of great players that understand our situation. We want to make the playoffs. It's a real tough conference and every time we get two points it gives us more confidence."

San Jose has no captain, and from the looks of it, not much character right now.

Game Notes:

Ryan Lowe was signed to a professional tryout agreement prior to the start of game and served as the backup goalie for Wednesday's game. Lowe's signing was necessitated by an injury to Troy Grosenick, which was sustained in practice on Tuesday.

Joe Thornton won 16 of 25 faceoffs, then mysteriously vanished into thin air once the puck was put into play.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
CGY 0 1 1 2
SJ 0 0 0 0
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, CGY, Hudler 9 (Brodie), 17:16.
3rd period - 2, CGY, Hudler 10 (Monahan), 19:10, (pp), (en).
Penalties
1st period - Bollig, CGY (roughing), 17:41; Burns, SJ (interference), 18:43.
2nd period - Brodie, CGY (roughing), 5:59; Wingels, SJ (roughing), 5:59; Giordano, CGY (tripping), 11:30; Glencross, CGY (roughing), 16:05; Pavelski, SJ (roughing), 16:05.
3rd period - Braun, SJ (tripping), 18:16.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
CGY - Ramo 32 32
SJ - Niemi 18 17
SJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CGY 9 6 4 19
SJ 11 11 10 32
Power Play Conversion
CGY 1 of 2
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Karri Ramo
Jiri Hudler
Antti Niemi
Attendence
17,353
Officials
Referees: Kimmerly, Kozari. Linesmen: Cvik, Henderson.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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