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Sharks spoil Hiller's return, defeat Flames

by Eric Gilmore /

SAN JOSE -- Getting benched earlier in the week clearly motivated Tommy Wingels and Tomas Hertl to be better.

Wingels and Hertl each responded with a goal and an assist to help the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames at SAP Center on Saturday.

"Great response, exactly what we needed," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said of the two third-line forwards, who he benched in the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. "They were a key part of the game tonight. Set the tone with the forecheck and got us those two first-period goals. Key part, and we need those guys. It was a great response game by them, and now we got to continue to build on that."

Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic also had a goal and an assist, Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau scored on the power play in the second period, and Martin Jones made 25 saves for the Sharks (14-9-0), who have won seven of their past eight games.

Flames goalie Jonas Hiller gave up five goals on 29 shots in his first start since Oct. 28 when he sustained a hip injury against the Ottawa Senators. Hiller was activated from injured reserve Thursday.

Markus Granlund and Micheal Ferland each scored his first goal of the season for Calgary (8-14-2).

"It's not the way you want to start after being out so long, but I thought they were better on the 5-on-5, they were better on the power play, and they were better on the [penalty kills]," Hiller said. "It's tough to win that way. ... Everybody has to have enough pride to know we're not playing good enough. We have to outwork the other team, and that's just not happening right now."

Wingels gave San Jose a 1-0 lead at 9:03 of the first period, redirecting Vlasic's long-range shot from the right boards past Hiller. The goal was Wingels' second of the season and ended a 14-game drought.

"You have to find a way to bounce back and respond after a situation like last game," Wingels said. "So our line found a way early, and when you're able to find your legs and get a goal early, it propels you the rest of the game. So, it was a good rebound game for us, and we kind of showed ourselves and showed our teammates what kind of line we can be, so we need to continue to play that way."

Hertl made it 2-0 at 12:36 of the first with his third goal of the season and first in 19 games. He took a pass from Brenden Dillon and beat Hiller with a sharp-angled slap shot from the right circle that snuck inside the right post.

"I felt great today," Hertl said. "It's a little bit tough for me and Tommy. We talked a little bit, and I think ours was the best game of the season. First period, we played so good."

Pavelski called it "one of the better games" Hertl has played this season.

"You just saw the intensity," said Pavelski, who had two assists. "That's what it takes. He's a big body, skates well. When he brings that game, his linemates were going, they had the puck all night, and it was good to see."

The Sharks entered the game with one power-play goal at home in 26 chances this season. Ward and Marleau each scored with the man-advantage in a span of 50 seconds in the second period to make it 4-0.

Ward scored on a two-man advantage at 10:04 with Deryk Engelland in the penalty box for roughing and Dennis Wideman for high sticking. Pavelski sent a pass from below the goal line to the low slot for Ward, who scored his ninth goal on a wrist shot.

Marleau scored at 10:54 with Wideman still in the box, putting a wrist shot from the high slot past Hiller for his ninth goal and third in three games.

"We didn't start the game," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "They got a quick 2-0 lead. We didn't show up in the first period. Those two power-play goals, they dug us way deeper. Our best period was the third, but by then it was too late.

"We're capable of doing some great things. The first period, they were the bigger team, they were the faster team, and they were the better team. They cut us to pieces."

Granlund scored at 9:42 of the third period, cutting San Jose's lead to 4-1, but Vlasic answered with a goal at 10:07, taking a cross-ice pass from Wingels and scoring on a 2-on-1 rush.

Ferland scored with 1:17 left.

Calgary went 3-0-0 against San Jose at SAP Center last season, outscoring the Sharks 10-4. The Flames, who went 0-2-1 on a three-game road trip, have scored three or fewer goals in nine straight games.

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