Brent Burns broke a third-period tie on the power play and Joel Ward added an important insurance marker in a 5-4 Sharks win at the Saddledome in Calgary on Monday.
San Jose didn’t have a power play until the final frame, when Mikael Backlund went to the box for holding Brenden Dillon’s stick. The Sharks took advantage of the league’s worst penalty kill, though, when Burns spanked a pass through the slot by Patrick Marleau inside the near post at 5:12 to give San Jose a 4-3 edge.
Ward, who missed a first-period breakaway when the game was still scoreless, increased the lead to 5-3 at 10:21 when his attempted pass went off of Mark Giordano and through goalie Karri Ramo.
Calgary kept pushing, though, despite the late two-goal deficit. They got one back on the power play with Ramo pulled for an extra attacker, as Dougie Hamilton’s point shot double-deflected inside the near post at 16:19 with Michael Ferland getting credit. That was as close as the Flames would get, though.
The Sharks (20-18-2, 42 points) secured their first back-to-back wins since Dec. 15-17, and improved to 14-6-2 on the road. They moved two points ahead of Calgary (19-20-2, 40 points) in the jam-packed Pacific Division, with one game in hand.
Calgary erased a 3-1 second period deficit with a pair of power play scores.
Mike Brown was issued a double-minor for high sticking at 8:33, when he inadvertently caught Matt Stajan up high. About a minute and a half later, Burns went off for tripping.
Despite entering with the league’s worst power play percentage, the Flames took full advantage of the pair of penalized Sharks. Dennis Wideman’s wrist shot from the high slot cleanly beat Martin Jones at 11:12 during a two-man advantage, and just 15 seconds later Sam Bennett flicked a shot over Jones to knot the score at 3-3.
San Jose jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead. Joe Thornton opened the scoring, stripping Joe Colborne of the puck in the offensive zone and then finished off a give-and-go with Joe Pavelski by slipping the puck through Ramo’s five hole at 5:07.
Joonas Donskoi’s second goal in as many games increased the lead, when he tipped in a Dillon blast from the point at 9:27. Chris Tierney patiently held on to the puck before finding an open Dillon.
Calgary got one back before the intermission. Johnny Gaudreau’s attempt rang off the cross bar and the puck bounced high in the air before settling on Sean Monahan’s blade. The Flames forward whipped it though Jones at 13:45, and the Flames had the territorial edge for the rest of the period.
Logan Couture’s goal early in the second halted that momentum at least temporarily when he took advantage of a Backlund turnover and spun around to fire home his first goal of the season in his 10th game at 1:53 of the middle frame.
The Sharks lost a pair of players in the game with apparent head injuries, although one eventually returned.
Tommy Wingels left in the opening period after colliding headfirst with Donskoi and did not come back. and in the third period Justin Braun took a Kris Russell slapper square to the front of his helmet after getting knocked over in front of the Sharks crease. Braun left a trail of blood as he was helped to the dressing room, but returned in the third.
The Sharks and Flames, who split their first two meetings before Monday, meet again in exactly one month at SAP Center. The Sharks, who lost in Calgary on Dec. 8, won for just the second time in their last six at Saddledome (2-3-1).
Calgary was 3-for-4 on the power play, while the Sharks were 1-for-1.
The Sharks surrendered three power play goals for the second time in the last six games. They allowed four to Colorado on Dec. 28 in a 6-3 loss.
Calgary has been shorthanded just 98 times this season, the fewest in the NHL.
Jones started his eighth-straight game, although he’s likely to get a breather on Tuesday in Winnipeg. He improved to 18-13-2 with 31 saves.
Ramo made his 12th-straight start for Calgary, taking the loss with five goals allowed on just 18 Sharks shots.
Burns increased his point streak to seven games, with six goals and four assists over that span.
Marleau played in his 500th straight game, the 22nd NHL player to reach that mark. He has the third-longest iron man streak in the league.
Bennett snapped an 18-game goalless drought with his second-period power play goal.
Sharks forward Dainius Zubrus (upper body) missed his second-straight game.
The Sharks will play the second of a back-to-back in Winnipeg on Tuesday. Alex Stalock will likely start in net for the first time since his successful two-game conditioning stint with the Barracuda last week. The Jets beat the Sharks on Jan. 2 at SAP Center, 4-1, in what was arguably the Sharks’ worst performance of the season.