CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames couldn’t find a way to manufacture yet another comeback.
Despite a late push with Justin Braun in the penalty box and goaltender Karri Ramo on the bench for the extra attacker, the Flames couldn’t muster another goal to force overtime in Calgary’s 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
“They had some timely goals and we made some mistakes that they capitalized on, but the game was there to be had,” said Matt Stajan, playing his first game after missing 16 with a knee injury. “One chance here, one chance there -- it could have went either way. Unfortunately, we fell short."
Trailing by one midway through the third period after Logan Couture’s centering pass rode up the stick of captain Mark Giordano and over the net before Patrick Marleau batted it out of mid-air and behind Ramo for the eventual game-winner, the Flames had plenty of opportunities to pull even.
But luck wasn't on their side.
“There's things you can do to maybe prevent that, but at the same time, Gio had a good stick and it ended up going over the net,” TJ Brodie said. “We've just got to find a way to prevent those chances.”
Calgary’s best chances to draw even came with the 6-on-4 to close out regulation.
With Braun watching from the penalty box and Ramo on the bench, Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi gloved Dennis Wideman's slap shot with 1:11 remaining and, with 1:01 on the clock, Niemi trapped Sean Monahan's centering pass with his blocker. Monahan was denied a second time on his shot from the slot with 42 seconds remaining.
“It's one of those things where we've been down quite a bit lately and we've got to find a way to get a lead and hold onto it at the end of the game,” Brodie said. “You can't always come back from a one or two goal deficit.”
Calgary did have the lead after 20 minutes courtesy a blast from Giordano.
But two goals on two shots just 2:34 into the second period from the Sharks quickly turned a one-goal lead into a one-goal deficit.
“You give up two quick goals, after we played such a good first period, the momentum changes a bit,” Stajan said. “We've got clean it up a bit at the start of periods. We can't let the other team take it to us like they did there.”
After Johnny Gaudreau pulled Calgary even late in the second, the Flames couldn’t find another on either side of Marleau’s game-winner.
No late-game heroics. No come from behind victory.
No points to be had.
"We knew that it wouldn't last for every game,” coach Bob Hartley said. “We tried. We had some chances. Niemi came up with a few good saves late in the game and that was the difference.
“Only the final result matters. I thought that we played a decent game, but the major mistakes that we made on their goals kind of makes it tough to say that once you analyze the full 60 minutes.”