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Sharks move up playoff ladder with win over Flames

The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Two streaks were remained alive on Friday night as Joe Pavelski kept the Sharks rolling and the Flames floundering.

Pavelski scored a tie-breaking goal with 2:06 remaining in the third period to enable the Sharks to match a season-opening winning streak with their seventh straight. For slumping Calgary, it was a 12th straight loss on the road.

"It was a hard-fought third period to get two points," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We were trying to do it the easy way (earlier) ... addressed it, challenged the group and they responded."

The victory moved the Sharks one point ahead of Los Angeles into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. Both the Kings and Sharks have 11 games remaining.

"We had a lot of chances all night, especially in the third," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said as his team outshot the Flames, 41-24. "It's a dangerous game, it's one that everyone expects you to win. Sometimes those are harder."

On the game-winning goal, San Jose's T.J. Galiardi won a battle in the corner and moved the puck toward the net where a sprawling Brent Burns kicked a rebound to the side of the net where Pavelski had an open cage to fill.

"I was able to stop the first one, but I couldn't cover it," Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff said. "Next thing you know it's back there with (Pavelski) standing there. I wasn't quick enough to throw my leg out there. It's tough, the end of the game, to lose a point like that."

San Jose's Dan Boyle tied the game early in the third period with his seventh goal of the season and second in as many games.

"We knew they were going to be hard to play against tonight," Sharks goalie Antti Niemi said. "They worked hard. We decided in the second intermission to outwork them, and that's what we did."

Shortly after San Jose's third failed power play of the night Boyle ran a give-and-go with Logan Couture, who slipped a pass back to the defenseman in the slot for a short-draw slap shot that beat Kiprusoff at 2:40.

The teams traded failed power-play chances during a scoreless second period that featured each team putting eight shots on goal.

The Flames scored the only goal of the first period despite getting outshot 17-10. The Flames needed only six seconds to convert a hooking penalty on Couture at 17:49.

Mikael Backlund won an offensive-zone faceoff from Patrick Marleau, got the puck back from teammate Mike Cammalleri and wristed his sixth goal of the season from the top of the right circle through Sharks goalie Antti Niemi.

"Miikka was really, really exceptional in the first and all of a sudden we get a power-play goal and we're hanging around a bit," Cammelleri said.

It marked the first power-play goal allowed by San Jose since March 23 against Minnesota. Nearly penalty free for six games, the Sharks were 7-for-7 during the winning streak coming into Friday's game.

"The one thing I thought we did was keep our compete level high," Cammelleri said. "They're a tough team in a tough building to play in. They have players who can make plays and they keep coming at you."

NOTES: Neither trade-deadline acquisition -- forward Raffi Torres nor defenseman Scott Hannan suited up. Torres could debut Sunday when San Jose's seven-game homestand concludes with a matinee against Dallas. Hannan has not played since March 17 due to an upper-body injury. ... Rookie forward Tim Kennedy was a healthy scratch while defenseman Jason Demers missed his fourth straight game due to injury. ... Calgary defenseman and alternate captain Mark Giordano did not travel with the team as he and his wife are expecting their first child. . ... The Sharks signed a pair of free-agent collegiate forwards, Rylan Schwartz and Eriah Hayes. Schwartz, 23, led all NCAA scorers this season, collecting 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists) in 41 games during his senior season at Colorado College. Hayes, 24, ranked second on Minnesota State University with 36 points (20 goals, 16 assists) in 41 games.
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