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game recap

Flames clinch playoff berth, gain on Sharks

Calgary one point out of third place in Pacific Division

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

Calgary (44-30-4) moved one point behind the Sharks for third place in the Pacific Division and leads the Nashville Predators by three points for the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. The Predators have one game in hand.

"This doesn't come around that often," Flames forward Alex Chiasson said. "For me I've been fortunate to be in the playoffs, but I think this is a special group here. We've got a chance to do something special, and the turnaround this year as a team has been fantastic. It was a reward for us tonight, for sure."

 

WATCH: All Sharks vs. Flames highlights

 

Chiasson, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan and Sam Bennett scored, and Brian Elliott made 36 saves for Calgary, who did not make the playoffs last season and started this season 5-10-1.

"I'm loving it right now. I'm having a lot of fun," Bennett said. "This is why you work hard in training camp. This is why you do everything in the summer. It's for this moment and for these playoffs, so I'm excited right now."

Video: SJS@CGY: Stajan swats home heavy rebound in front

Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Melker Karlsson scored, and Martin Jones made 18 saves for the Sharks (43-28-7), who have lost eight of the past nine games (1-8-0) and are two points behind the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific having played one more game.

The Sharks led the Flames by nine points on March 14.

"You've just got to work through it," San Jose defenseman Brent Burns said. "We're working now and it's not working. You've got to just push through. We know we're a great team. We've got to get back there. Who knows? We've got to see a witch doctor or something, I think. We'll see."

Gaudreau extended his point streak to seven games (three goals, eight assists) when he put the Flames up 1-0 at 12:26 of the first period, and Monahan extended his point streak to four games (three goals, five assists) when he gave Calgary a 2-0 lead 3:39 into the second.

Video: SJS@CGY: Monahan buries rebound on the power play

Vlasic scored at 8:25 to make it 2-1. The Flames took a 3-1 lead at 12:38 with Stajan's first goal since Feb. 3 (sixth this season), and Chiasson put Calgary up 4-1 at 17:09.

Aaron Dell started the third period in relief of Jones, and Karlsson scored to make it 4-2 at 13:06. Dell made 12 saves.

Bennett scored into an empty net with 34 seconds remaining after the Flames killed his minor penalty for tripping.

"I watched all the guys stand up and start hugging each other when it went in," Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said. "I could tell that they felt probably a little bit the same as me. Special moment there, the guys were truly excited. It's something I'll remember for sure."

Video: SJS@CGY: Bennett ices the game with an empty-net goal

 

Goal of the game

After the Flames failed to clear their zone, Karlsson drove to the net and redirected Joe Pavelski's centering pass.

Video: SJS@CGY: Karlsson tips home Pavelski's feed

 

Save of the game

Elliott made a glove save on Kevin Labanc's wrist shot 40 seconds after Karlsson scored to cut Calgary's lead to 4-2.

"They get the second one and they got a 2-on-1 right away and he made a huge save," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "I think that's the game right there, the turning point."

Video: SJS@CGY: Elliott snags Labanc's quick wrister

 

Highlight of the game

After Bennett got a Sharks turnover in the neutral zone, Gaudreau redirected Bennett's return pass to finish a give-and-go.

Video: SJS@CGY: Gaudreau finishes off Bennett's pretty feed

 

Unsung performance of the game

With Dell on the bench and the Sharks skating 6-on-4, Flames forward Michael Frolik swept the puck out of the crease with Patrick Marleau and Tomas Hertl in front and Pavelski backdoor with a little more than one minute remaining.

 

They said it

"It's huge. Ever since I came here, that was the goal. I was fortunate enough [with the St. Louis Blues] to be there five years in a row. I know how fun, how meaningful, and how much it brings to the city to be in the playoffs. This is a big accomplishment. We've got to take it on a little bit and enjoy it, but we've still got some work to do." -- Flames goaltender Brian Elliott

 

"Everything's fixable. We're a great team and we know it. We played like it for 68, 69 games, and in some of these games we're playing well too. I think it was there. It's just a matter of, I don't like saying bearing down or all that stuff, because guys are working. A lot of times it's a split-second read. It just seems like those split-second reads and bounces are going the other way. It's a matter of working through those bounces, working through the reads." -- Sharks defenseman Brent Burns

 

Need to know

The Flames are 19-6-1 since the NHL All-Star Game. … San Jose was 7-2-0 prior to its 1-8-0 stretch. … Gaudreau has 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in his past 19 games. … Monahan has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past seven games. … Elliott is 15-2-1 with a 1.98 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 18 starts.

 

What's next

Sharks: At the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; SN, CSN-CA+, NHL.TV)

Flames: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET; SN1, PRIME, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Flames clinch a playoff spot with 5-2 win vs. Sharks

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