Flames keep on rising
Calgary 4 San Jose 1
CALGARY — Two weeks after a franchise record seven-game losing streak on home ice, the Calgary Flames appear to be turning their fortunes around.
Mark Giordano scored the game-winner and Karri Ramo made 27 saves as the Flames knocked off the San Jose Sharks 4-1 on Thursday night for their fourth consecutive victory — all of them at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
It comes two nights after Calgary knocked off the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
“I would say tonight, by far, is probably our best team win of the season,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley.
“As a coaching staff, we cannot be more happy than we are right now. Those guys deserve the credit. We beat quite a hockey club tonight. From Karri Ramo to the six D to the four lines, everyone is chipping in.”
Leading 1-0 after the first period, the Flames grabbed a two-goal lead at 3:38 of the second.
Mikael Backlund’s shot missed the net but the puck caromed sharply off the end boards and out the other side where Giordano rifled it in the short side as goaltender Alex Stalock scrambled across.
“There wasn’t much room for Backs and I knew he was going to shoot it so you’re just trying to read the rebound and with the new nets with them being a bit shorter, it comes out at different angles and the goalie doesn’t really have a chance to get across,” Giordano said.
“It was a good bounce and I just tried to fire it as hard as I could on net.”
The ninth goal of the season for Giordano extends his career-high scoring streak to eight games (four goals, four assists).
“I wouldn’t have believed it (was possible).
“It just seems like I’m getting a couple of bounces. I’m trying to be aggressive and it seems the puck’s coming to me at the right spot,” said Giordano.
Lee Stempniak, rookie Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary (20-27-7) and Jiri Hudler added an empty-net goal. Backlund and Dennis Wideman each had two assists.
The Flames, who are enjoying their longest winning streak since reeling off five victories in a row in March 2012, are 4-0-0 with one game to go on a five-game homestand.
“Sometimes it goes this way. The main thing is we kept working and nobody gave up when things were bad. Everybody learned from those and we started to do the right things,” Ramo said.
Eriah Hayes, with his first NHL goal, was the lone Shark to solve Ramo.
San Jose (34-15-6) has lost three straight.
The Sharks entered the game on two straight shutouts after losing 1-0 to Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, and 3-0 in Edmonton on Wednesday, thanks to Ben Scriven’s record-setting 59 saves.
“It’s a big concern of ours right now. In our last eight games, we’ve only scored 13 goals and 10 have them have come from three players,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. “Obviously with injuries and every team goes through them, you need others to pick up the slack and we’ve got to find that.”
San Jose was held to eight shots in the first period but racked up 13 in the second, including multiple chances to score on Ramo. In one mad scramble around the Flames net, Hayes nearly scored only to have the puck cleared off the goal-line by Giordano.
The Sharks finally cashed in 46 seconds into the third as this time Hayes would not be denied. After Chris Butler lost the puck in front of his net, a quick passing sequence with Tommy Wingels and Patrick Marleau set up Hayes less than 15 feet away and he buried a quick shot over Ramo’s glove.
“We’re getting tons of chances, great opportunities right in front like that. It’s a little frustrating right now that the bounces aren’t going our way. Once the bounces start going our way, we’re going to be scoring a lot of goals,” said Hayes, playing his 13th NHL game after being recalled from Worcester (AHL) on Jan. 4.
That goal ended a stretch of a 160 minute, 36 second scoreless drought for the Sharks, who racked up 103 shots on goal before Hayes connected.
“I think we just need to get back to finishing,” said Sharks captain Joe Thornton. “We haven’t finished particularly well in the last three games and it’s definitely shown on the scoreboard. You’ve just got to concentrate in that last half-second to see where you’re going to shoot and put it in.”
The Flames restored their two-goal cushion after Ladislav Smid’s shot went wide and bounced out the other side for Joe Colborne, who directed it in front for Monahan. The rookie redirected it out of the air for his team-leading 15th goal.
“Obviously, it’s a different feeling in the room right now. We have confidence as a group, we’re sticking together, working hard and we’re having fun doing it,” Monahan said.
Stalock finished the game with 26 stops as his record fell to 7-4-0.
Making his fifth start in his last six games, Ramo improved to 11-10-4.
Notes: The Sharks record for being shutout was 190:22 set in February 2007... Calgary LW Mike Cammalleri (concussion) missed his ninth game. He is back practising with the team and hopes to play Saturday against Minnesota... Tyler Kennedy (lower body) did not play for San Jose. He was hurt Wednesday night in Edmonton... Calgary is 16-9-7 in one-goal games and 4-18 in games decided by two-or-more goals... Since being converted to a forward, San Jose’s Brent Burns has 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) in 66 games.