Joe Pavelski hasn't been able to find the scoring touch that made him a playoff hero in San Jose last spring. He and the Sharks hope Saturday night is a sign of better things to come.
Pavelski scored for the first time in nine games, helping the Sharks hold off the Calgary Flames 4-3 for their third victory in four games. Pavelski, the team's leader in shots, missed on his previous 67 attempts before connecting 16:22 into the second period, firing a rebound past Miikka Kiprusoff for a 3-1 lead.
"I feel like the puck is falling for me in the offensive zone," Couture said. "Clowe is such a great playmaker and goal scorer that things are going well for me."
Jarome Iginla's sixth-attacker goal wasn't enough to keep the Flames from losing for the second night in a row and the sixth time in seven games.
" There were mental mistakes," coach Brent Sutter said. "Mistakes that were made due to a lack of intelligence when playing the game tonight. The other night (Friday's 5-4 loss at Phoenix), it cost us in a one-goal game where our puck management wasn't good in certain areas. Then you give up quality scoring chances and the puck goes in the net."
"They [Pavelski-Couture-Clowe] have been our best line," coach Todd McLellan said. "They've been around the net, even [Pavelski] at the end, but they have been our best line for the last three or four games, and it was real evident tonight. And when you're playing as hard and doing the right things as they've been, eventually you're going to get rewarded. "
Antti Niemi, who beat the Sharks in the playoffs last spring and led Chicago to the Stanley Cup before signing with San Jose this summer, stopped 28 shots for only his second victory in six decisions. Kiprusoff stopped 31 shots for the Flames.
"After facing a few shots I started feeling pretty comfortable," Niemi said. "I've been trying to work on the basic things, and hard work always pays off."
Thornton scored a power-play goal 1:06 into the game, and Clowe made it 2-0 at 10:24 on a give-and-go with Pavelski.
Couture "brings a lot of speed, and makes a lot of plays," Pavelski said. "Clowe is a big body on the forecheck. It's worked out good so far, but it has to be an every-night thing."
Mark Giordano got the Flames on the board early in the second period during a 5-on-3 power play.
"Here we've lost six of our last seven and that urgency has to be there," Sutter said. "We're only in the middle of November and we have to have that now."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|PPG - Joe Thornton (6) ASST: Jason Demers (4), Dan Boyle (10)|
1 - 0 SJS
|Ryane Clowe (3) ASST: Joe Pavelski (7), Logan Couture (2)|
2 - 0 SJS
|PPG - Mark Giordano (2) ASST: Ian White (4), Jarome Iginla (7)|
2 - 1 SJS
|Joe Pavelski (4) ASST: Logan Couture (3), Ryane Clowe (7)|
3 - 1 SJS
|Jay Bouwmeester (2) ASST: Matt Stajan (9), Alex Tanguay (6)|
3 - 2 SJS
|Logan Couture (6) ASST: Ryane Clowe (8), Joe Pavelski (8)|
4 - 2 SJS
|Jarome Iginla (3) ASST: Alex Tanguay (7), Mark Giordano (6)|
4 - 3 SJS
|Olli Jokinen Interference against Ryane Clowe|
|Cory Sarich Hi stick - double minor against Devin Setoguchi|
|Dany Heatley Boarding against Robyn Regehr|
|Dan Boyle Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Craig Conroy Interference against Logan Couture|
|Dany Heatley Interference on goalkeeper against Miikka Kiprusoff|
|Jamal Mayers Instigator against Cory Sarich|
|Jamal Mayers Misconduct (10 min)|
|Jamal Mayers Fighting (maj) against Cory Sarich|
|Cory Sarich Fighting (maj) against Jamal Mayers|
|Matt Stajan Too many men/ice - bench|
|Joe Pavelski Tripping against Mikael Backlund|
|Logan Couture Hi-sticking against Cory Sarich|
|Torrey Mitchell Delaying Game-Puck over glass|