It’s been 11 months and one day since the Sharks last lost a regular-season game in regulation at HP Pavilion. That night, Feb. 14, 2008, they dropped a one-goal game to Edmonton before reeling off a home record 28-0-2.
Until tonight. Calgary went into HP Pavilion and did what had seemed impossible, beat the Sharks in just 60 minutes, by a score of 3-2. And really, it wasn’t anything the Flames did especially well that punched the Sharks’ ticket. Rather, the Western Conference frontrunners didn’t take care of the puck, were often ineffectual on the transition and failed to capitalize on any of the five power plays afforded them by Calgary and that includes a 5-on-3 opportunity.
But before the game, Mike Keenan had quipped that SOMEONE had to snap the Sharks’ home winning streak, so why shouldn’t it be Calgary, which kicked the Sharks’ balls in 5-2 just over a week ago.
Ryane Clowe, who, it seems, has had 114 percent of his career scoring come against the Flames, drew first blood just a minute into the game and I quickly began thinking of Calgary’s last trip to San Jose this season (a brutal 6-1 loss). Craig Conroy answered early in the second before Calgary surrendered a turdy goal a few minutes later to Joe Thornton thanks to Dion Phaneuf’s hesitance to take the body as Jumbo Joe cut into the middle of the ice.
But then Daymond Langkow answered on the power play when he found himself inexplicably open in front of the net for a tip-in. And when I say open, I mean he could have taken a quick nap and fixed himself a sandwich before Doug Murray, the nearest defender, got within a stick’s length.
Phaneuf made up for his Thornton-related miscue (and admittedly Joe was the best player on the ice tonight) by scoring the game-winner off the stick of Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Memo to Vlasic: Don’t block shots with your blade. It never works out how you’d like.
Big win for the Flames, huge loss for the Sharks, at least mentally. It wasn’t like Calgary came in with a perfect road game and outplayed them. On the contrary, the Sharks were dictating play. But apart from the Conroy goal, the rest of the Flames scoring was the result of a bad play by a Sharks defenseman, and San Jose was just awful on the power play. That one’s gonna sting for a while, and give the already surging Flames a very nice boost going into a stretch in which they play seven of their next 10 at home, where they haven’t lost in regulation since Dec. 2. That’s a big chance to make up some ground right there.
Boston 2, New York Islanders 1
Boston played maybe its worst game in a couple weeks tonight and won with relative ease after an awful first period. The lone Islanders goal was with an extra attacker. Interesting to note that the Islanders put 41 shots on net. You wouldn’t know it to look at their goals-against stats, but the Bruins are 22nd in shots against per game at 30.7! So there’s the one thing they don’t do well. Call Ripley’s.
Toronto 6, Carolina 4
Lots to be incredulous about here. 1) Jason Blake had a hat trick. Jason Blake. The guy that plays for the Maple Leafs. That Jason Blake. Really. I am not kidding. Jason Blake. 2) Toronto led 4-0 late in the second period, gave up four straight goals in 10:09, and still scored twice before the end of regulation. 3) Cam Ward was allowed to stay in net for the entire the game. 4) Jason Blake also had two assists. 5) Jason Blake had five points in one hockey game. For real.
Montreal 3, Nashville 2
I was watching this during commercial breaks in the Bruins/Islanders game and I had the privelege of seeing a fight between Jordin Tootoo and Steve Begin. You need to see this:
Tootoo should never beat the Christ out of anyone like that. From what I saw of this game, the scrap may have been the highlight.
Tampa Bay 4, Philadelphia 1
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh man. Tampa got second-period goals from Marty St. Louis, Andrej Mezsaros and Ryan Craig and a third-period penalty shot goal from Vinny Lecavalier (sick move too). Philly only scored once all night. Against the Lightning, who outshot them 44-32. That’s several kinds of embarrassing.
Minnesota 5, Edmonton 1
Pretty good game for Cal Clutterbuck. A goal, five hits and a takeaway. That’s what you’re looking for out of a rookie forward to whom you’re giving 14 minutes. Brent Burns also had a goal, and he finished plus-3. That’s also very good. On top of that, Pierre-Marc Bouchard had his monthly “Oh that’s why we re-signed him for big money” game, netting a goal and two assists. Good night all around for Minnesota, eh?
St. Louis 5, Colorado 2
TJ Oshie had a goal and two assists (common theme tonight) and Colorado continues to play like ass. I’m cool with that. Very cool with that. Peter Budaj allowed four goals on 25 shots. That’s fine too.
Buffalo 5, Dallas 4 (SO)
You gotta think Marty Turco has the easiest job in hockey right now. Gives up four goals just about every night and somehow he continues to hold down a starting job AND still sees his team get points and stay somewhat near playoff contention with games in hand over just about everybody. If he were having this season somewhere else —a place that cares about hockey, for example — he would get pelted with rotten fruit in the streets.
Phoenix 4, Vancouver 1
Roberto Luongo’s back! Yay! And he’s AWFUL! Yaaaaay! Four goals on 32 shots doesn’t sound SO terrible, but when you consider the Canucks were losing 1:05 into the game and JOAKIM LINDSTROM almost had a natural hatty in the first period, it paints a more vivid picture of a goalie who looked entirely unprepared to be back in the NHL.
Detroit 4, Los Angeles 0
Yeah, that sounds about right.