As the '90s rapper Coolio once said: Ain't no party like a West Coast party, 'Cause a West Coast party don't stop.
The Flames certainly lived it up Saturday night in Vancouver, celebrating in style as they snapped a three-game losing streak with a breakout offensive performance in a 6-3 victory over the Pacific Division leading Vancouver Canucks (click here for indepth coverage of the game).
Tanner Pearson scored just 34 seconds in the game but, after that, it was all Flames in one of their most complete games of the season.
Dillon Dube lead Calgary with the first three-point game of his career, while Milan Lucic was also a massive factor with two big points - and too many big hits to count.
The reunited top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm also looked good, with Johnny and Mony hooking up for a third-period tally on a 2-on-1.
"It was huge, you know," said Lucic after. "Even though we gave up the first goal in the first minute of the game, I think our mindset was in the right place. We were ready to play and if you look at the game as a whole, it was probably our most complete game of the year. You know, we talked a lot about (it) the last two, three days, is just winning one game, you know, win that one game and get back in the win column. (Then) focus on the next one. We were able to do that tonight."
The team remains without the services of captain Mark Giordano, currently sidelined with a lower body injury. Fellow blueliner Travis Hamonic was put on IR Monday afternoon.
The Sharks come into this tilt well rested, having gone three days between games.
They just finished a succesful two-game road swing through Alberta, where they beat the Flames 3-1 on Feb. 4 (more on that below in Us vs. Them), and the Oilers 6-3 two days after.
In the later tilt, the Sharks had fallen behind 2-0 before the game was six minutes old thanks to tallies by Sam Gagne and Connor McDavid.
But Timo Meier - with his 18th - and Evander Kane with a late powerplay marker knotted the game up at two after 20 minutes of play.
Maxim Letunov scored his first of the year and Stefan Noesen notched his fifth in the second period to put the visitors up by a pair. Meier scored his second of the game at 5:05 of the third before Ethan Bear finally broke the Oilers lengthy goal-scoring drought in the game.
Kevin Labanc rounded out the scoring.
"It was a little bit of a rough start," said San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson, who had an assist. "They obviously came out with the fresher legs and more intensity. I thought we stuck with it and kept it tight, and after the first six or seven minutes, we controlled most of the game and we played a smart game."
Former Flame and now Sharks bench boss Bob Boughner was pleased with his team's resiliency and bounce-back effort.
"I was proud of the guys," he said. "Obviously, the first five minutes didn't go well, and you're sitting there and (McDavid) is going off and you don't know if it's one of those nights where he's going to get four or five on you. But we settled down, our special teams gave us a chance, the penalty kill especially at 2-1, and it allowed our power play to get out there. It's been cold as of late, and I think special teams made a difference in the first period and kept us in the game."
Airdrie native Aaron Dell - who played his 100th NHL game - got the victory, making 28 saves.
"I think we handled it pretty well," said Dell of the early adversity. "We were a little bit sloppy, we could have fallen apart and it could have gone ugly. But we picked each other up and bounced back and went into the second a tie game."
The offensive outburst in the game was a rarity for the Sharks this season. They are -36 on the campaign and sit 13th in the West with just 145 goals this season.
3. US VS. THEM
As stated above, the Sharks left the Scotiabank Saddledome last week with two valuable points.
It was a frustrating night for the homeside, as the Flames created tons of chances but outside of Johnny Gaudreau 's tally just 59 seconds into the game, they couldn't solve Dell who finished with 30 saves.
Labanc, Kane and Brent Burns scored to lead the Sharks to the win.
The Sharks won the first meeting of the season between the clubs, also skating to a 3-1 win at the 'Dome back on Oct. 13. They will meet once more this season, on March 23 in San Jose.
The Flames have a record of 16-15-4 against Western Conference opponents, and are 9-8-1 against the Pacific Division.
4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER
THIS: The Flames continue their terrific road-play and have the best road record in the NHL since Nov. 23 at 11-3-1 which is a winning percentage of .767. Lindholm leads the Flames in road scoring with 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 29 road games this season. … THAT: Gaudreau's 431 career points are the fifth most points by a primary winger in Flames franchise history passing Hakan Loob. Johnny trails Eric Vail (452 points w/ Flames) for fourth.… THE OTHER: Tkachuk continued his All-Star type season with another goal on Saturday. Tkachuk now has the seventh most points by a Flames player in their first four seasons to start their career with the franchise at 218 points passing Monahan who posted 217 points in his first four seasons with the Flames.
5. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Flames - LW Milan Lucic
The big man was a beast Saturday night. As mentioned above, he threw his body around all game with huge hits, and was active with the puck creating offensive opportunities. His third-period powerplay tally that put the Flames up 4-2 was a beauty, and one that was pre-planned - sort of.
"You know, it's funny. Backs said if the puck went over to him that way this morning, for me to go backdoor and he was going to try and find that seam," he said after the victory, wearing the Calgary Police Service stetson as player of the game. "So when Dubes made the play to him, that's exactly where I went and he did a great job just finding my stick."
Sharks - RW Timo Meier
He had a two-goal, three-point night against the Oilers. He recorded an assist in the victory over the Flames for four points in his last two outings. Coming off a 30-goal, 66-point season, he already has 18 goals and 36 points this year.