Depleted Sharks lean on goalie Hill to finish Flames’ 10-game point streak

Still minus their head coach and several regulars, the San Jose Sharks prevailed 4-1 on Tuesday over the host Calgary Flames.

Captain Logan Couture scored the third-period winner for San Jose (7-4-1). Tomas Hertl and Jonathan Dahlen added empty-net goals and Alexander Barabanov also scored for the Sharks. Defenceman Brent Burns had two assists.

Sharks goalie Adin Hill stopped 37 of 38 shots for the win after losses in his previous three starts. He also had an assist on San Jose’s first goal of the game.

The Sharks were without head coach Bob Boughner for a fifth straight game because he’s in COVID-19 protocol.

Seven players, including star defenceman Erik Karlsson, are also in their second week of protocol, which necessitated the call-up of several players from the AHL’s Barracuda.

The Sharks have stated all players and staff are fully vaccinated against the virus. Assistant coach John MacLean is filling in for the absent Boughner.

San Jose is 3-1-1 since Boughner and the players entered protocol.

“Even though we’ve got a ton of different guys in the lineup right now, they were in camp. They know how our coaching staff wants us to play, how we’re going to win games,” Couture said.

“Everyone’s bought in in this group. Tonight certainly wasn’t a masterpiece, but we defended hard. We did the right things. We found a way to get two goals and kept them to one.

“Extremely proud of the guys that have come up and guys that are battling through. You see a ton a blocked shots for guys and those don’t feel too great, but willing to sacrifice to win hockey games right now.”

Flames’ run fizzles

Milan Lucic scored for Calgary (7-2-3) in front of an announced 14,960 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Lanny McDonald bobblehead night. Flames starter Jacob Markstrom made 22 saves in the loss.

San Jose halted Calgary’s run of consecutive games of at least a point at 10. The Flames lost in regulation for the first time since their season-opener.

Hill, 25, was born in Comox, B.C., but played minor and Junior A hockey in Calgary.

“Played hockey my whole life growing up in Calgary and kind of a bit Okotoks too just south of the city,” he said. “I had a lot of family and friends at the game. Yeah, it meant a lot.”

The Flames didn’t score on three power-play chances, while the Sharks went 0-for-2.

“We found ways this year to beat goalies and get ourselves leads and bury our chances and we weren’t able to do it tonight,” Lucic said.

Couture produced the eventual game-winner at 4:18 of the third period. When the captain’s wrist shot nicked the stick of Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov, the puck’s change of speed caught Markstrom sliding too far to his right to glove it.

Pair of posts

Calgary twice rang the puck off San Jose’s post in a second period that ended in a 1-1 stalemate.

Andrew Mangiapane’s wrister deflected off the high post in the final seconds and Matthew Tkachuk’s re-direct of a Noah Hanifin shot midway through the period also found iron.

But Lucic scored in a crease scramble 1:17 into the period to pull the hosts even at 1-1. The goal was upheld upon review and also withstood MacLean’s subsequent challenge for goaltender interference.

San Jose’s Barabanov earned his first goal of the season 47 seconds into the second period. From behind the Sharks’ goal line, Burns wired the puck up ice to Barabanov on the move at Calgary’s blue line.

The Russian snapped a low shot by Markstrom. Burns extended his points streak to five straight games with a goal and six assists in that span.

“I thought we had the better of them than second,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said. “I’m sure we thought we could continue that and they came out with a little more jump. Who scored the winner there? Was it Couture? Logan, those guys played a lot and they were probably better than our top guys tonight.”

After a 2-1-2 homestand, Calgary starts a five-game road trip Thursday in Montreal. San Jose continues a five-game road swing Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.

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