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Flames take West crown
Sharks fall 5-3, will face Vegas in first round
3/31/19 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks had 24 hours to enjoy their overtime win over Vegas on Saturday night, before the reality of their problems came back to haunt them. Hosting the Calgary Flames at SAP Center with the Western Conference and Pacific Division on the line, San Jose's lack of defensive prowess allowed their opponent to walk away with both titles. There was little drama in this one, as San Jose allowed the Flames to score the next four goals, en route to a 5-3 win over the Sharks.

The back-to-back games forced Sharks head coach to follow the script of inserting his backup goaltender, Aaron Dell, in net. Dell was ill-equipped to fend off a Flames team that won 7 of their last 10 games, allowing 5 goals on 28 shots.

San Jose's one game losing streak went up in flames.

Timo Meier score at the 12:01 mark, breaking a nasty streak of five games where the Sharks surrendered the first goal of the game. Meier gathered a Joonas Donskoi pass near the inside of the right circle, before shipping a shot that beat Flames goaltender Mike Smith by catching the upper left corner of the net.

The Sharks defense collectively went on strike to close out the period. Calgary threw a haymaker that caught San Jose square on the chin in the form of three goals in 75 seconds.

Sean Monahan tied the game at the 14:58 mark when he deposited a Johnny Gaudreau feed through the crease. Gaudreau skated the puck out of the right corner before slipping a pass from behind the end line through Justin Braun's skates and the Sharks crease to Monahan on the left side. Monahan had a wide open net to shoot at as Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell was parked on the right post, trying to deny Gaudreau of any chance on that side of the goal.

Mark Jankowski put the Flames up 2-1 just 31 seconds later. The Flames pushed the faceoff into the San Jose zone before James Neal and Jankowski worked it to the slot from the left wing boards. Neal lost control of the puck, but Jankowski was there to scoop it up and whip a shot across Dell's position for his 12th goal of the season.

San Jose is proving to be an equal opportunity host, allowing not only the big goal scorers to beat them, but also the neophytes. Dalton Prout scored his 1st goal of the season 44 seconds after Jankowski's tally. The journeyman defenseman pinched on a change, beating the entire Sharks defense to the front of the net where Andrew Mangiapane hit him with a pass from the left wing boards. Prout took a stride toward Dell before sliding it between his pads for the 3-1 lead.

If the Sharks had intended to fight back in the 2nd period, they failed miserably. Calgary out-shot the Sharks 14-3 in the middle frame and allowed the Flames to build on their lead by literally scoring a goal for them.

Joakim Ryan won't get credit for the goal, but he redirected a pass that was running parallel with the goal line into his own net to make it a 4-1 game. Mikael Backlund was credited with his 21st goal of the season, stealing Ryan's chance at scoring glory.

Logan Couture made it a 4-2 game 5:23 into the 3rd period on a tic-tac-toe passing sequence that started with Tomas Hertl racing into the Flames zone. Parked near the right circle, Hertl slid a pass to his left where Meier gathered it and returned it to the right side as Couture slide underneath Prout. Couture pulled his stick back to his forehand and lifted the puck over Smith's left hand for his 27th goal of the season.

Any notion of a comeback was squashed three minutes later when Michael Frolik snapped a Matthew Tkachuk feed from between the circles to push the Flames lead back to 3 goals. Dell misplayed a puck behind his own net, then tried scrambling back into his net but wasn't set to defend the Frolik shot. Dell got a piece of the shot, but it carried over the goal line.

Kevin Labanc padded his personal stats with his 15th goal of the season at the 16:34 mark, but it was too little, too late. Game Notes:

* Timo Meier became the 4th Sharks player to record a 30 goal season at 22 or younger.

* The Sharks only generated 15 shots on goal. Four Shark forwards did not have a shot on goal and four had a single shot.

* The lack of shot production may have been attributed to the lack of puck possession. San Jose was 18 of 52 from the faceoff circle (35%).

* The Sharks split the season series with the Flames 2-2-0

* Joe Thornton and Matthew Tkachuk had a lengthy chat from their respective benches, but Tkachuk got the last laugh.


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1 2 3 T
CGY 3 1 1 5
SJ 1 0 2 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Meier 30 (Donskoi, Couture), 12:01. 2, CGY, Monahan 34 (Gaudreau), 14:58. 3, CGY, Jankowski 12 (Neal, Czarnik), 15:29. 4, CGY, Prout 1 (Mangiapane, Hathaway), 16:13.
2nd period - 5, CGY, Backlund 21 (Hanifin, Gaudreau), 7:27.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Couture 27 (Meir, Hertl), 5:23. 7, CGY, Frolik 16 (Giordano, Tkachuk), 8:25. 8, SJ, Labanc 15 (Heed, Ryan), 16:34.
1st period - Couture, SJ (interference), 1:07.
2nd period - Gambrell, SJ (hooking), 9:16; Bench, SJ (too many men), 12:36; Giordano, CGY (holding), 19:09.
3rd period - Monahan, CGY (hooking), 2:01; Braun, SJ (tripping), 9:19; Ryan, SJ (boarding), 13:05; Haley, SJ (10 min misconduct), 17:37; Meier, SJ (cross checking), 17:37.
Shots Saves
CGY - Smith 15 12
SJ - Jones 28 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CGY 11 14 3 28
SJ 6 3 6 15
Power Play Conversion
CGY 0 of 6
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Mark Giordano
Johnny Gaudreau
Timo Meier
SAP Center - 17,313
Referees: Pollock, O'Rourke. Linesmen: Pancich, Nagy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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