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Sharks end perfect home stand
Donskoi bags shutout winner in 3-2 decision over Calgary
12/28/17 - By Mike Lee -

The NHL's Christmas Break came to an end on Thursday night as the Sharks returned to the ice in a division match-up with the Calgary Flames at SAP Center. San Jose treated the home fans to bonus hockey by overcoming a 3rd period deficit, then delivered a late Christmas gift with a win in the shootout to cap a 3-2 decision before a sellout crowd.

As the season is about to hit January, division and conference games become more important as teams begin to jockey for the 8 playoff spots available in the Western Conference. Calgary trailed the Sharks by 3 points entering play, so a San Jose loss could have resulted in a paper thin margin in the standings.

The win was the third in a row for San Jose, who have also gone 6-2-2 over their last ten games, which is only second to Vegas in the Pacific Division.

The Flames drew first blood, when Garnet Hathaway slid a loose puck into a wide open net after Martin Jones went down to block a shot and exposed the entire right side of the net. Defensemen Brent Burns and Justin Braun slid to the left side to cover a Flames forward, leaving Hathaway unguarded at the goal mouth. After fishing out the puck from under Jones' pad, the deposit was simply a formality for Hathaway.

A Matt Stajan interference penalty setup the suddenly potent Sharks power with a chance that showed exactly why they've had a resurgence on special teams. San Jose moved the puck at will through the Flames zone, and a Joe Thornton drop pass into the slot ended with Joe Pavelski sniping a shot to the upper left corner for his 8th goal of the season.

Joonas Donskoi took an ill-advised tripping penalty at 14:57, putting the Flames on the power play for the second time. Matthew Tkachuk faked a shot from the right side and instead sent a pass to the front of the net where Mikeal Backlund deflected it back door to put the Flames right back on top. The goal was Backlund's 8th of the season.

Calgary went into a prevent mode that was fueled by a constant stream of hits to any Sharks skater that touched the puck. Each hit or clutch seemed to bog the Sharks down, preventing them from stringing any orchestrated attacks together.

The Sharks would out-shoot the Flames 13-7 in the middle period, but San Jose not score the equalizer. The Flames would simplify things with a pair of penalties in the period, but the Sharks power play went into disarray after looking so good on their initial chance in the opening period.

They would get that equalizer 12 minutes into the 3rd period on a deflected shot from the right side. Brent Burns unloaded on a shot from the right point, before Timo Meier got his stick on it, deflecting it past Flames goaltender David Rittich. Meier had a defender draped all over him, but he was able to not only pick up the shot, but shed his defender and get his stick blade on the Burns blast.

The overtime was about as entertaining as scoreless overtime periods go, with both teams exchanging quality scoring chances that could have been game enders had they connected. San Jose only mustered a single shot in the extra period, but a Joe Thornton chance was the closest San Jose would come to ending things in the period.

Thornton found himself on a breakaway with just over a minute left, but he put his shot over the crossbar. Johnny Gaudreau missed on a chance moments later.

In the shootout, Pavelski opened thing with a goal that beat Rittich through the 5-hole. Sean Monahan, Brent Burns and Mikeal Backlund followed with misses, setting up Joonas Donskoi. The Sharks winger raced in on Rittich and dove left, before cutting back to his right, deeking the Flames goaltender out of his pants before depositing the puck around the left pad for the game winner.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks revealed that captain Joe Pavelski has been dealing with a broken finger the past few weeks. They would not disclose which hand or finger was affected, but there's no mystery in that Pavelski has been dealing with an injury given his play through the first three months of the season.

* San Jose owned Calgary in the faceoff circle, winning 34 of 58 draws for a 59% win percentage. Joel Ward won 7 of 10 and Tomas Hertl won 8 of 11 to lead San Jose.

* Calgary's game plan included lots of shots to the body throughout the game. The Flames out-hit San Jose 28-11. That approach seemed to have an effect on the Sharks, who couldn't string together consistency in passing and puck control.





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Scoring
1 2 3 OT SO T
CGY 2 0 0 0 0 2
SJ 1 0 1 0 1 3
1st period - 1, CGY. Hathaway 2 (Bennett, Jankowski), 4:22. 2, SJ, Pavelski 8 (Thornton, Labanc), 7:16, (pp). 3, CGY, Backlund 8 (Tkachuk, Giordano), 15:45, (pp).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Meier 6 (Burns, Dillon), 12:00.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Pavelski (goal), Burns (miss), Donskoi (goal). CGY: Monahan (miss), Backlund (miss).
Penalties
1st period - Stajan, CGY (interference), 6:22; Boedker, SJ (interference), 11:10; Donskoi, SJ (tripping), 14:57.
2nd period - Jagr, CGY (tripping), 9:33; Monahan, CGY (interference), 18:08.
3rd period - Donskoi, SJ (tripping), 8:27.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
CGY - Rittich 32 30
SJ - Jones 34 32
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
CGY 11 7 12 4 34
SJ 8 13 10 1 32
Power Play Conversion
CGY 1 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Brent Burns
Garet Hathaway
Timo Meier
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,562
Officials
Referees: Skilliter, Lee. Linesmen: Mach, Devorski.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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