CALGARY -- Every young hockey player dreams of scoring an overtime goal in the playoffs. Matt Stajan's OT goal on Tuesday might be the difference in the Calgary Flames getting that far.
Stajan scored with 39.7 seconds remaining in the extra period to lift the Flames over the San Jose Sharks 3-2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night.
After blocking a Dan Boyle point shot off a faceoff in the Calgary zone, Stajan and Blake Comeau barreled down the ice on a 2-on-1. Comeau fed a pass to Stajan, who found the back of the net behind Antti Niemi to help the Flames win their fourth consecutive game as they push for a position in a tight Western Conference playoff race.
"It's a great feeling," Stajan said. "Scoring a goal at any point is a great feeling, but to score the winner in overtime in a game of this significance, there is not really any way to describe it. It's a great feeling. We've been playing playoff hockey here the last little bit and it's a great feeling."
With a roster that already had eight regulars on injured reserve, Comeau had just returned to the lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury.
"I've got to give him credit," said Stajan, who now has a four-game point streak. "He gave me a 2x4 to the back of the net. As soon as we were able to turn the puck over, I knew I had a step on Boyle. I was putting my head down and going hard to the back of the net and Comes, I knew he was going to find me."
Despite the loss, the Sharks held on to eighth place in with the Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche in a tight Western Conference race. Each team currently has 78 points, but San Jose has games at hand over all three rivals.
"One (point) is better than none, but that's not what our goal was," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We're disappointed leaving. I thought we played well enough to get two, but we're not going home with them."
The Sharks were able to push the game to overtime thanks to a power-play goal by Logan Couture. After the Sharks allowed shortly after two unsuccessful power plays in the second period, Couture made good on an opportunity 1:22 into the third. With Cory Sarich in the box for high sticking, Couture took a pass from Patrick Marleau in the slot and one-timed it past Miikka Kiprusoff for his second goal on the night to even the score 2-2.
Both teams battled but couldn't find the back of the net again in regulation, allowing both teams to capture points in an already tight race in the West.
It didn't take long for the Sharks to bite once the puck was dropped, despite playing their third game in four nights. Couture managed to slide the rebound of Brent Burns' shot through Kiprusoff just 53 seconds into the game. The goal marked the first game in a dozen that the Flames hadn't scored first.
That lead nearly climbed to two, but Burns couldn't beat a post through a screen near the midway mark of the period.
Flames forward Curtis Glencross saw his goal-scoring streak end at seven games with just 29 seconds remaining in the period. Glencross was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct after driving Sharks defenseman Jason Demers face-first into the glass. Demers had dumped Glencross seconds earlier.
But the Flames used a successful kill to start the second period to turn the momentum.
Just 1:14 after serving the major, Roman Horak threw a puck on net that emergency call-up Sven Baertschi was able to convert over the shoulder of Niemi for his second career NHL goal and first on home ice.
"When I scored a goal in Minnesota it was just quiet, no one was cheering," Baertschi said. "Scoring a goal here, it was special. I really like the fire by the Jumbotron. It's really exciting."
A penalty kill led to continued offense late in the period, too.
After sitting two minutes for delay of game, Mark Giordano stepped out of the penalty box, intercepted a Marc-Edouard Vlasic stretch pass and fed Jarome Iginla for a one-timer that beat Niemi with just 1:33 remaining.
"I was pretty excited when I was coming out of the box," Giordano said. "I knew it was going to be close but once you come out and you pick it off, they're caught. I tried to make the most of it. Iggy just made a big shot."
Iginla reached the 30-goal plateau for the 11th consecutive season.
"I feel very fortunate," Iginla said. "You play, you play hard and you try to score every game. You try to have an impact. Years go by so fast and you just keep going. It's not something you're thinking about the whole time. I've gotten a lot of great passes over the years from all different guys."