The San Jose Sharks snapped their 2 game slump with a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames at the Shark Tank, in a game that featured 4 unanswered goals by San Jose and Tomas Hertl's 4th career hat trick. Adin Hill started in the net for the 4th consecutive game as James Reimer continues to be missing in action due to an illness. The game started rather bleak for fans, as the first shot on Adin Hill found the back of the net courtesy of a tip-in by Calgary's Dillon Dube. Hill has been making it rather routine to allow a goal within 10 minutes or less in the first frame, including allowing goals on the first shot. San Jose answered back when Tomas Hertl beat goaltender Dan Vladar with a snap shot just after clearing two pieces of a broken stick in his path. The lead didn't last long thanks to Johnny Gaudreau's backhander that gave the Flames the lead heading into the second period.
The Flames got off to a hot start out of the locker room with Adam Ruzicka extending the Calgary lead 3-1 with a wrist shot at 4:31 in the second period. Then the Flames started to fizzle out. After being called for a delay of game, Erik Karlsson found himself in the penalty box watching and anticipating the Sharks' special teams unit trying to keep the game from getting away from them. The Sharks penalty kill unit delivered and midway through the second period, Erik Karlsson thanked the team for their efforts with a beautiful and rare breakaway goal.
Just 4 minutes after the Norris Trophy-winning defenseman delighted Sharks Territory with his one-on-one highlight-reel goal, the special teams unit delivered again with a power play goal by Captain Logan Couture tying the game at 3-3. Another 4 minutes pass by and Hertl scores his second goal of the night to give the Sharks their first lead of the game heading into the third period, where Hertl scored his hat trick goal on an empty netter with 42 seconds remaining in regulation.
Some more notable performances by the Sharks are those of Brent Burns and Alexander Barabanov, who both collected 2 assists alongside Couture who totaled 3 points for a career total of 600. Jonathan Dahlen also had an 'apple' as he continues to impress the team, and perhaps the league, in his rookie campaign. In his second consecutive win over Calgary, Adin Hill made 40 saves and ended the night with a .930 save percentage, including stopping all 6 of Calgary's power play shots.
The Sharks needed some home cooking after a long 5 game road trip across the continent on the East Coast. With 8 of the 9 games remaining games in December scheduled at the Tank, the Sharks can use the home crowd (or at least the home building) to improve their standings and climb to the top 3 spots in the Pacific Division. The only road game left in the year 2021 will be played at Anaheim, which is interstate travel, so the Sharks will be getting plenty of quality time at home for the holidays. The Sharks must take advantage of this homestand because the grind begins once again after the New Year's Eve celebration with a 4 game road trip starting in Pittsburgh on January 2nd. Hopefully, the Sharks can start the "new year, new you" mindset a few weeks early and continue to play games that deliver fans more tacos all month long.
OTHER TEAM NEWS OF NOTE:
Today, the Sharks called up Alexei Melinchuk from the San Jose Barracuda to assume the backup role to Adin Hill. Rudolfs Baclers was placed on the Injured Reserve and Kevin Labanc is listed as a healthy scratch, with Coach Bob Boughner stating that Labanc "needs to be better". It is expected that Evander Kane will make his American Hockey League debut with the San Jose Barracuda this week.