The Calgary Flames came into their game versus the San Jose Sharks with a 10-game point streak. The Sharks came in four points behind the Flames with matching games played. San Jose was also undermanned with several key players sidelined under the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, including Erik Karlsson, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Timo Meier, and more. It was a classic setup for the clear underdog to ruin a good thing for Calgary.
The opening twenty minutes of the game were about as lacklustre as they could have come. Neither team was particularly sharp out of the gates and a complete lack of shot attempts made for a dull period. Short of a couple penalties to Erik Gudbranson and Chris Tanev to start and end the period, it was truly a low-event start to the contest.
Both teams might went into the intermission with the same mantra—looking to get ahead early in the second period and shift the momentum. The Sharks ended up being the team to break the tie, as Alexander Barabanov scored just 47 seconds into the middle frame. A stretch pass from Brent Burns from the Sharks’ goal line found Barabanov set to enter the Flames’ zone, where he neatly tucked it past Jacob Markstrom to put the Sharks up 1–0.
Just 30 seconds later, the Flames seemingly tied it up. Milan Lucic jammed the puck in at the side of the net as Adin Hill couldn’t hold his skate on his post. The puck was obscured and needed review, but the bird’s eye view clearly showed the puck crossing the goal line. Later on in the game, the goal was credited to Andrew Mangiapane, with the primary assist going to Lucic.
However, the Sharks then challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but the challenge was unsuccessful. Both teams were tied once again.
If these two teams sought to use their goals to build momentum, then really only the Flames were successful. With the score 1–1, the Flames spent the entirety of the period putting up shot attempt after shot attempt. Their counterparts seemed barely able to muster up anything at all. However, Hill was sharp and kept the game tied through to the second intermission.
As the game wore on, it felt like it’d be one of those tilts where the next team to score would win the game—either the Flames would finally convert on one of their chances, or the Sharks would score and sap the momentum that the Flames built in the second period.
As it so happened, the latter would occur. Logan Couture scored on a shot that tipped off of Nikita Zadorov‘s stick, which turned into a knuckler that tricked Markstrom to put the visitors up by one.
The Flames weren’t quite as free to shoot the puck in the third as the Sharks cleaned up their play compared to the second period. It wasn’t until the game was approaching its end that the Flames were able to get momentum back on their side.
A flurry of shots came from the Flames but Hill once again stood tall. With under two minutes remaining, the Flames pulled Markstrom for the extra attacker. On a couple straight icings by the Sharks, they were clearly looking to kill the clock.
Another near-icing call was mitigated by Tomas Hertl winning a footrace to the puck and he immediately spun around to score on the empty net. Down two goals, the Flames kept their net empty but the Sharks scored once more—courtesy of Jonathan Dahlen—to pump the score up to 4–1.
The Flames lose in regulation for the second time this season–their first regulation loss since the season opener. Hill was foundational in the Sharks’ win, and the visitors are rallying around their adversity and turning it into unsuspecting wins, this time at the misfortune of the Flames.
Data visualisations from the game are below.
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