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Tkachuk scores twice to fuel victory over Sharks

Flames rookie nets the game-winning goal with 4:21 left in regulation

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

SAN JOSE, CA -- Matthew Tkachuk was told Thursday morning he'd be sticking around with the Calgary Flames. 
He showed why Thursday night. 
Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the game-winner with 4:21 remaining in regulation, to help the Flames to a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday. 
"I went to bed pretty late last night not expecting I was playing," Tkachuk said. "I woke up this morning also not really expecting I was playing. I got the news this morning and got fired up pretty quickly. I was running on adrenaline tonight, for sure."

San Jose erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, but Tkachuk, the No. 6 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, scored his second of the game after taking a quick pass from Michael Frolik and deking around Sharks goaltender Martin Jones with the eventual game-winner to put the Flames up 3-2. 
"We played him in the last minute of this hockey game as well," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "That's going to go a long way. I'm glad he got a couple for his confidence. The one thing you always worry about with young guys in the league is getting points and making sure the offensive guys still feel like they can score. I was glad he got the two, but he played a solid game for us."
The 18-year-old was told prior to the morning skate that he'd be sticking with the team beyond the 10-game threshold that will activate the first year of his three-year entry-level contract. 

Video: CGY@SJS: Tkackuk pots backhander for second goal
"A couple guys chirped the coaches, saying we should've told him a while back he was going to stay," Gulutzan said. "It was a good feeling on the bench, for sure. A really good feeling."
Troy Brouwer also scored, and Chad Johnson had 26 saves for the Flames. 
"You go back to just playing our game and our structure and trusting it," Johnson said. "I think when times get scrambly and we gave up two goals in the third … you've got to trust the system and trust each other. This one is good for us because we did stick together and we got through it. It's a great win."
Brent Burns, Melker Karlsson scored, and Jones made 19 saves for the Sharks.
Brouwer broke open a scoreless game at 16:32 of the second period to put Calgary up 1-0. Micheal Ferland dished a backhand pass into the slot before continuing behind the net, and Brouwer shot by an unsuspecting Jones to net his fourth goal of the season.

Video: CGY@SJS: Brouwer buries Ferland's perfect feed
Tkachuk doubled the lead less than two minutes later. Deryk Engelland, in his 400th career NHL game, gained the zone before dropping a pass to Tkachuk, who snapped a shot between Jones' legs to give the Flames a 2-0 lead at 18:05. 
"I'm really happy for him," Frolik said. "When you're young like that it's not easy. I try to talk to him on the bench before the game…two big goals from him. I'm really happy for him. He's a great player and hopefully he can keep this thing going."
The pair of goals came on the heels of a couple of key saves from Johnson. 
Johnson denied Burns' sharp-angled shot and a rebound attempt from Mikkel Boedker at 8:43, and made a save on Chris Tierny's backhand from nine feet at 14:27. 
Burns pulled San Jose within one 35 seconds into the third period, one-timing a shot on the power play by the right pad of Johnson to trim Calgary's lead to 2-1. 
Karlsson deflected Marc-Edouard Vlasic's shot from the point, and gathered the rebound to the left of the crease before tucking the puck behind Johnson's right pad to tie the game 2-2 at 9:18.
The Flames out-hit the Sharks 32-24, and Lance Bouma had a game-high six hits. Calgary also blocked 21 shots, including six from captain Mark Giordano and four from centre Matt Stajan. Forward Kris Versteeg left the game after the first period and did not return. Defencemen Nicklas Grossmann and Dennis Wideman, and forward Freddie Hamilton were scratched. Defenceman Brett Kulak dressed for the first time since Oct. 20 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Deryk Engelland played in his 400th career NHL game tonight.
UP NEXT: The Flames will visit the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday (8:00 PM MT; CBC, SN1, SN960).

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