SAN JOSE –- The Sharks finally got to enjoy some valuable practice time at home in between home games on Saturday and Wednesday's match against Calgary.
It didn’t help.
The Flames skated to a 2-0 win over the Sharks at SAP Center, moving a full six points ahead of their Pacific Division rival, which has now lost its first three games of a six-game homestand (0-1-2). The Sharks are 10-10-4, and just 2-4-2 at home.
The Sharks have dropped four in a row, and have not led in any of the defeats. In their last nine games they have scored just 14 goals, going 2-5-2 over that span.
Jiri Hudler scored both Flames goals. During a four-on-four, Hudler cut to the net and flipped in a pass from the wall by T.J. Brodie at 17:16 of the second period. It was all the Flames would need.
His second goal came into an empty net with 49 seconds to go, coming seconds after Marleau's blast from the circle was deflected and missed the net.
San Jose had the better of the scoring chances in the second, but couldn’t solve Karri Ramo, who secured his first shutout of the season with 32 saves. Marleau was stopped by the Flames’ backup a little more than six minutes into the period on a setup from linemate Joe Thornton, and later Thornton teed him up for a snap shot on the power play that dinged the inside of the post with eight minutes to go.
The Flames had two prime opportunities in the early part of the first period. Antti Niemi made one of his best stops of the season in the opening minute, getting his left pad on Johnny Gaudreau’s shot from close range, and the goalie denied Paul Byron breaking in alone after Byron stripped James Sheppard of the puck in the defensive zone.
The Sharks continued to push in the third period, outshooting Calgary 10-4 over the last 20 minutes. Joe Pavelski couldn’t squeak a backhander through after a Sean Monahan turnover about three minutes in. Marleau had yet another great chance at the side of the net with seven and a half minutes to go, but failed to poke in a hard pass from the point by Brent Burns.
The Sharks had won seven of their last eight against the Flames in San Jose. They’ve now lost three in a row to Calgary, though, dating back to last season.
The Sharks were forced to sign emergency goaltender Ryan Lowe to a professional tryout before the game, after Troy Grosenick was hurt in Tuesday’s practice. Alex Stalock (lower body injury) remains on injured reserve, although he skated with his teammates for the first time since getting hurt on Wednesday morning.
Lowe, a graduate of San Jose State University and the goalie coach for the Jr. Sharks, had most recently played professionally in Australia in 2013.
The Flames entered the game with the second-worst penalty kill in the league, but the Sharks failed on two man advantage opportunities.
Calgary was 1-for-2, as the empty-netter came after Justin Braun’s tripping minor with 1:44 to go in regulation.
Hudler’s goal was the first four-on-four goal surrendered by the Sharks. They have scored two.
Niemi dropped to 6-2-0 in his career against the Flames at SAP Center. He stopped 17 of 18 Calgary shots and is 7-7-3 on the season.
Ramo (5-2-1) was giving starter and former Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller the night off, after Hiller dropped a 3-2 decision to his former club on Tuesday in Anaheim.
Defenseman Matt Tennyson made his season debut, skating with recent acquisition Brenden Dillon. The 24-year-old was recalled on Monday, and played ahead of scratches Matt Irwin and Scott Hannan.
Calgary's Devin Setoguchi, in the midst of a miserable start to the season with zero points and a -7 rating in 12 games, was waived by the Flames on Wednesday morning.
The Sharks will face off against the Ducks for the second time on Saturday at SAP Center. In the first meeting on Oct. 26 at Honda Center, San Jose skated to a 4-1 win in a game that featured a combined 165 penalty minutes.
The homestand concludes with the Flyers on Tuesday and Boston next Thursday, Dec. 4. They see Calgary again on Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Saddledome.