A brief but important road trip got off on the wrong foot for the Sharks in Calgary on Wednesday night.
The Flames used three second-period goals in beating San Jose fairly easily, 3-1 at the Saddledome. The Pacific Division rivals are now tied for second place with 61 points through 52 games, although Calgary owns the tiebreaker.
Vancouver, which hosts the Sharks on Thursday, trails both the Sharks and Flames by two points but has three games in hand.
Calgary has now won three of the four games against the Sharks in the season series, which concludes on Monday in San Jose.
The Flames broke the game open in the second period after a scoreless first.
First, Paul Byron dropped the puck to Kris Russell, who had all kinds of time to wind up and blast it past Alex Stalock at 9:28 for the defenseman’s first goal of the season.
A power-play goal increased it to 2-0 at 11:55, as Jiri Hudler got in front of the net to redirect a pass from Johnny Gaudreau off of Scott Hannan’s skate. Gaudreau blew past Hannan around the net before setting up the marker.
A one-time blast from Mason Raymond beat Stalock to the short side, top shelf at 18:03 to take a commanding three-goal cushion into the dressing room.
The Sharks got on the board in the third period courtesy of an unlikely source. John Scott found a loose puck and flicked it into an open net at 2:48, after a pass from Hannan intended for Chris Tierney ended up on Scott’s stick. It was his second of the season, and first since his Sharks debut on Oct. 14 at Washington.
Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game midway through the second period for unspecified reasons, but returned early in the third.
The Sharks were ineffective on the power play, going 0-for-3 and generating just two shots on goal over six minutes. They had a chance to cut the Flames lead to one on a Deryk Engelland delay-of-game penalty seven minutes into the third, but fizzled.
Calgary was 1-for-2. The Sharks had surrendered just two power-play goals against in their previous nine games.
Jonas Hiller was playing for the first time against the Sharks this year, after Calgary went with Karri Ramo and rookie Joni Ortio in the first three meetings. The former Ducks starter made 28 saves in improving to 17-14-2.
Stalock fell to 5-6-1 on the season, and has allowed at least three goals in each of his last four starts. Against the Flames, he surrendered three goals on 23 shots.
Andrew Desjardins was a scratch in favor of Tierney, who was recalled from Worcester earlier in the day.
Joe Thornton’s six-game point streak came to an end, as did defenseman Matt Tennyson’s modest three-game streak.
The Sharks are right back in action on Thursday as they make their first of two visits to Vancouver. The Canucks beat the Sharks in each of the first two meetings at SAP Center, 3-2 on Nov. 6 and 3-1 on Dec. 30.
San Jose opens up a three-game homestand with Carolina on Saturday.