One goal was the difference for the San Jose Sharks as they lost to the Calgary Flames 3-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday night.
Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell (4-2) made his first start against a Pacific Division team — the Flames — and first overall since Dec. 30 against the Philadelphia Flyers at SAP Center. Dell made 25 saves in a losing effort.
Shortly after Michael Frolik went to the box for slashing, the Sharks cashed in on the man advantage to take a 1-0 lead at 11:20 of the opening period. Logan Couture made a clever play in front of the net by tipping in a shot from Brent Burns to beat Flames goaltender Chad Johnson five-hole for his 14th goal of the season.
The Flames’ forecheck forced a turnover, allowing Frolik to pick up a rebound and fire the puck past Jones for his 11th goal of the season, tying the score 1-1 less than two minutes later.
Burns continued his multiple-point streak with his 17th goal of the season — a wrist shot that went through traffic — giving the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 16:06.
Frolik sought revenge with a game-tying goal, but the Sharks outshot the Flames 12-8 and led 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Brenden Dillon went to the box for holding at the 18 minute mark of the middle period. About one and a half minutes later, the Flames tied the game once again. Matthew Tkachuk redirected a pass from Mikael Backlund into the net and past Jones for his eighth goal of the season.
A late Flames power-play goal made the difference, as the Sharks held a 19-17 shot advantage, but the score was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes.
There was more high quality action in the final period. Just seconds after Garnet Hathaway went after Marc Edouard-Vlasic, Dell made a huge save to rob Tkachuk of his second goal of the game, ninth of the season and fourth against the Sharks thus far. Michael Haley stepped in, provoking a fight between both teams. Both Haley and Hathaway received roughing penalties.
Dell made an incredible stop on Tkachuk. Then, Dougie Hamilton scored the go-ahead goal. Hamilton fired a wrist shot from the top of the circle to put the Flames ahead 3-2 at 17:41.
The Sharks needed a deciding goal to force overtime, but they were unable to complete the required task. Johnson stopped Mikkel Boedker of a potential breakway with eight seconds left in regulation.
The Sharks (25-15-2) lost to the Flames (23-19-2) by a score of 3-2. Johnson (15-9) finished with 25 saves for Calgary.
Scratched: Tommy Wingels
Injuries: Tomas Hertl (knee), David Schlemko (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (upper body)
Mirco Mueller was reportedly ineligible to play due to an error on the lineup card.
Tim Heed played in his first NHL game.
The Sharks return to San Jose to open a two-game homestand Saturday night against the Blues. You can tune into the game on CSN-CA and FS-MW.