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Flames have a stronger showing in San Jose, but early goals prove costly in 3-1 loss to Sharks

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick /

SAN JOSE - The effort was there.

The will, the resolve, right there along with it.

Considering how little there must have been to draw from following an emotional loss less than 24 hours earlier, to dig deep in the reserves and find that little extra against a rested team, in their barn?

It ain't easy.


Video: Condensed Game: Flames @ Sharks


But the Flames did just that, responding well to the appeal from their head coach, who pinned Friday's defeat squarely on the team's "work ethic."

That wasn't the case on Sunday.

There was a lot to like. They probably deserved better, even.

But in the end, it goes down a 3-1 loss to the Sharks, sending the Flames home with a 2-3-1 record on the year.

Elias Lindholm had the goal for Calgary, while Cam Talbot made 17 stops in his regular-season debut with the Flames.

"I thought that was our best game of the road trip," Talbot said." I thought we battled hard, did a lot of things well.

"Even though it's not the result you wanted, sometimes you can build off some little things that you do throughout a game that can become a positive trend for us moving forward. We've got to take those, build off them and move on."

The Flames outshot the Sharks 33-20 overall.

The Sharks opened the scoring on a fortuitous play at 4:04 of the first. Posting up in the near corner, Logan Couture delivered a crosser into the blue paint that caromed off the toe of linemate Timo Meier and in.

Talbot had no chance on the play.

It was an unlucky start for the Flames, who carried the majority of the play early on and quickly built a 9-3 edge on the shot clock.

But the Sharks quickly proved why they're one of the most dangerous teams offensively.

They can strike without warning.

Kevin Labanc gave the homeside a 2-0 advantage at 10:13, following some nifty puck play that gave the winger a chance to really wind up in the neutral zone and whistle a shot high, short side, on Talbot.

Labanc made a couple of great dekes, taking the outlet pass from Erik Karlsson, putting the moves on a pair of defenders at the red line before dishing off and getting the puck back in full flight.

Suddenly, it was another steep, uphill climb ahead for the visitors.

"We were down a lot of games last year and came back," Lindholm said. "As soon as we're down, there's still a lot of hope on this team and I think it doesn't matter how many we're down, we always have a chance. Today, it wasn't enough."

The Flames had a great chance to make it a one-goal game late in the period when Derek Ryan took off on a clear-cut break, but he deked himself out of the forehand try, the puck slipping away before even getting it off.

Shots favoured the Flames 11-6 after one, with four of those coming in the opening 90 seconds.

The Flames kept pressing early in the middle stanza, and were finally rewarded on their 17th shot of the night at 6:43. TJ Brodie wheeled the puck into the middle at the top of the size and filtered a shot through traffic that Lindholm got a piece of in tight, beating Martin Jones, waist-high.


Video: CGY@SJS: Lindholm beats Jones with great redirection


The goal came right off the faceoff, with Lindholm winning the draw on his strong side.

(Lindholm has been great in the dot this year, entering the night with a 54.2% success rate.)


Video: CGY@SJS: Talbot robs Couture on the breakaway


Moments later, Talbot shut the door on Couture, as he knocked down a long flip pass from Karlsson, scurried in alone and looked to bury five-hole with a nifty bit of stickwork.

No dice.

The 'Goalbuster' stood tall, responding well after enduring some hard luck early.

Talbot, again, shone during a late powerplay, stopping three shots and getting a bit of help from his glove-side goalpost to keep the Flames within a shot.

At the tail end of the advantage, Backlund took the puck in alone on a breakaway, but his forehand flick was turned aside.

The missed proved costly.

The Sharks made it a 3-1 game with a short-handed effort with 1:51 to play in the period - Hertl doing the damage with a missile from the hash marks after getting a pass on a 2-on-1 with Couture.

"Much better," said coach Bill Peters. "Much better effort. I thought the Backlund line was dangerous, had lots of good looks.

"So, some things we can build off, for sure."



Johnny Gaudreau played in his 400th NHL game tonight. Since his rookie season in 2014-15, the 26-year-old has accumulated the seventh-most point, overall, and the second-most by a left-winger. Only Alex Ovechkin has more. With 136 goals and 258 career helpers, Gaudreau is only six points away from hitting 400. At this rate, he'll be a career point-per-game player in no time. … Patrick Marleau played his first home game for the Sharks after signing a one-year contract last Wednesday, and scoring twice in his debut the following night in a 5-4 road victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Marleau, who spent the past two years with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the franchise leader in goals (508), points (1,082), game-winning goals (98), powerplay goals (160), and his 574 assists are the second-most in franchise lore. Marleau received an incredible ovation from the Sharks faithful, including a lengthy standing ovation that lasted for the entirety of the first TV timeout, followed by an electric, 'Patty! Patty! Patty!' chant.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Milestone alert! Johnny Hockey has hit 4���0���0��� games in his #NHL career!#CGYvsSJS | #Flames | @Sportsnet



Talbot on making on his Flames debut:

"Took me a little while to settle in. The first one going off a skate wasn't the ideal start, but to be honest with you, I probably would have preferred a few more shots to get into it. But those are the kind of games you have to battle through and stay focused. I thought I did that throughout."

Talbot on thought process after first one beats him:

"Stop the next one. That's the only thing that can go through your mind at that point. Crazy bounce. Just move on."

Lindholm on 60-minute effort:

"Overall I thought we were right there. Our PP (wasn't) great. It didn't score and didn't give us any momentum, and kind of lost it there. But overall, I think 5-on-5, I thought we played pretty good and if we play like that, we're going to win a lot of games."

Backlund on deserving a better fate:

"I thought we were the better team. Just didn't score on our chances. There are going to be nights like that. It's not like we're happy that we lost, and it's tough, but I thought it was a well-played game by us. We had most of the pressure all night."



Here are the forward lines, D pairings and goalie to start Sunday's game (starters in bold):



Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Andrew Mangiapane
Andrew Mangiapane - Derek Ryan - Tobias Rieder
Milan Lucic - Sam Bennett - Austin Czarnik


Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic
Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson


Cam Talbot

Scratched: Mark Jankowski, Michael Stone


The Flames open a two-game homestand on Tuesday as they host the Philadelphia Flyers (click here for tickets), followed by a visit from the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (click here for tickets).

The team then heads back out onto the road for a quick, two-game set in southern California, beginning on Saturday, Oct. 19 in Los Angeles, and finishing up the very next night in Anaheim.

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