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Sharks finally get extra point, edge Flames in OT

The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- The San Jose Sharks finally figured out a way to prevail in a game that went to extra time.

Regrouping after blowing a 2-0 third-period lead, the Sharks claimed a 3-2 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

One lucky goal made the difference.

At 1:13 of overtime, San Jose center Joe Thornton took a long shot that deflected off Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart and trickled through the legs of Flames goaltender Reto Berra and into the net.

"We've been going to overtime and shootouts it seems like every night," Thornton said. "To finally win one, it's huge for this group. We've been playing good hockey, we just haven't been winning shootouts. To get the full two (points), it's finally nice."

It was especially nice for Stuart, who was a healthy scratch the previous game and responded with his first goal of the season.

"It's been a long time since I've had an overtime goal," Stuart said. "It wasn't pretty but I'm not going to tell anybody how it went in, it just went in.

"I'll take that goal any day of the week, anywhere. It's good just to get the win. We've kind of been having a lot of those types of games where we go into overtime, a shootout and we don't come out with the second point. It's nice to get it."

The Sharks (11-2-5) dropped their previous five games, albeit four of them in extra time, and appeared headed in that direction yet again. This one would have been more demoralizing than any of the others.

They staked a 2-0 lead thanks to first-period goals by center Logan Couture, who has more career points against the Flames than against any other NHL team, and left winger Patrick Marleau.

They dominated play through the middle frame to the tune of a 28-6 edge in shots on goal before the announced Scotiabank Saddledome crowd of 19,289.

Seemingly in the blink of an eye, though, that lead disappeared in the third period when the Flames drew even with goals by defenseman Kris Russell, which snapped a power-play drought of 0-for-30, and left winger Michael Cammalleri.

Not that the Flames were about to be proud of their comeback.

"We didn't really have any right to be in the game at that point. Reto was standing on his head," defenseman Chris Butler said.

Added coach Bob Hartley: "The first period, we didn't see our team at all. I said to (assistant coach) Marty Gelinas, 'Should I change my lines?' and he said 'Yes.' I started looking and I couldn't find three guys that I felt had decent energy to get going.

"The first period, it's starting to be a problem for our group. We addressed it. Obviously, it didn't get through because that's, by far, the biggest spanking that we took in the first period. We didn't touch the puck. The only way that we could have touched the puck is if we would have had two pucks out there."

The highlight for the Flames (6-9-3) was the play of Berra, the Swiss-born netminder who made just his fourth NHL start, who stopped 32 shots and was deservedly the first star even in defeat, although he wasn't going to take any credit after coming up short.

"I'm not satisfied when we lose. I hate to lose," he said.

With the win, San Jose goalie Alex Stalock, who made just 11 saves, is now perfect through two starts this season.

NOTES: D Ladislav Smid made his debut with the Flames after being acquired via trade from the Edmonton Oilers last week. Smid, who led the Oilers in hits and blocked shots before he was traded along with minor league G Olivier Roy in exchange for minor-leaguers C Roman Horak and G Laurent Brossoit, skated on the third defense pairing to start. The swap is only the second trade consummated between the Flames and their Alberta rivals. ... Sharks scratched D Matt Irwin for Stuart to play ... Calgary RW Lee Stempniak returned to the lineup after missing seven games due to a broken bone in his right foot suffered Oct. 24. Stempniak recorded at least one point in all but one of the 10 games he played prior to the injury ... After playing 11 of their first 18 games on the road, a span that included a pair of long and difficult trips, the Flames in the midst of a stretch in which they play six of seven games at home.
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