The Flames are turning the page and getting right back to work following a 6-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights last night in Sin City.
Goals by Rasmus Andersson and Johnny Gaudreau staked the visitors out to a 2-1 lead early in the second period, but the Knights responded with five unanswered to skate away with the two points.
"We didn't play hard enough," said Head Coach Bill Peters in a scathing review of his team's effort post-game. "Until we start to play hard and play hard for 60 minutes, it's going to be up in the air all night long, or you're going to get blown out.
"We've got to develop a little bit of a work ethic here.
"We're disappointed with the way we played. We're well aware we haven't played hard enough on a consistent basis."
This is the first of 10 back-to-back situations the Flames will face this year, making for a tough test - in another tough barn - here tonight.
"It's always good to play, especially early in the year and especially when you're trying to gain some traction," said Peters. "You want to get back in there and play and be in a situation where you've got to compete to be successful. We'll be playing in a tough situation, but a situation where you've got to bear down and come through."
The Flames will not hold a morning skate in preparation for tonight's contest, but Peters did confirm at yesterday's pre-game availability that Cam Talbot will make his regular-season debut this evening.
In three pre-season appearances, Talbot had a .902 save percentage and a 2.80 goals-against average. He stopped all 24 shots he faced in 40 minutes of work in his last outing, on the road in this very same building, back on Sept. 26.
The Sharks are coming off a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday to record their first win of the new season and avoid the worst start in franchise history.
Longtime Shark Patrick Marleau, who signed a one-year deal with the club on Wednesday after two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, scored twice in his return, while Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow and Brent Burns also tallied in the victory.
In goal, Airdrie, Alta. Native Aaron Dell made 26 saves to improve San Jose's record to 1-4-0 on the year.
"He's a goal-scorer," captain Joe Thornton told NHL.com of Marleau's big night. "That's what he does. Getting a 500-goal scorer five games into the year was huge for us. It was the boost we needed tonight."
3. US VS. THEM
This is the first of four meetings between these two teams, and the first of a pair to be held at the SAP Center in San Jose. Last year, the Flames earned a split with their Pacific bedfellows, winning once in each barn - including a wildly entertaining 8-5 decision on New Year's Eve at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Sean Monahan led the Flames in head-to-head scoring with seven points (2G, 5A) in four games, while Johnny Gaudreau (six points) and Matthew Tkachuk (five) were not far behind.
Following tonight's contest, the Flames and Sharks will hook up again on Feb. 4 (in Calgary) and Feb. 10 (San Jose) before finishing up the season series on Mar. 23 at the 'Dome.
Cam Talbot is 5-6-0 lifetime, with an .886 save percentage and a 3.43 goals-against average against the Sharks in the regular season.
THIS: Tonight, 26-year-old Johnny Gaudreau will suit up in his 400th NHL game. The New Jersey product was drafted by the Flames in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft and immediately made an impact, scoring his first goal in his first game on Apr. 13, 2014. Gaudreau is nearly a point-per-game player over his career with 394 points (136G, 258A) in 399 games. He's off to another fast start this year with seven points (3G, 4A) in five games. … THAT:Cam Talbot has appeared in 288 games over the course of his career, with a record of 138-112-24. In sum, he has a .915 save percentage and a 2.60 goals-against average with the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. … THE OTHER:Sean Monahan has 32 points (11G, 21A) in his last 30 road games.
The captain never quits. Amid a tough game last night, 'Gio' still found a way to contribute with some big numbers across the board. The 36-year-old played a team-high 22 minutes (including a team-leading 3:25 short-handed), and recorded a game-high six shots, four blocked shots and two takeaways.
Sharks - Joe Thornton
Thornton looked like a new man with his former running mate, Patrick Marleau, back in the fold. Jumbo Joe dished to Marleau from his office behind the net for Thursday's game-winner, and now has two points (2A) in five games this year.