CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—Jamie McLennan is going to enjoy this win. It’s been awhile since he’s had one.
Shean Donovan scored the decisive goal early in the third period and McLennan earned his first win in over 11 months as the Calgary Flames beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in their home opener Saturday night.
“Wins didn’t come a lot last year for me so this one feels good,” said McLennan, who had gone 0-10-3 during his past 18 appearances, 13 of them starts. McLennan only won twice last year, both on the road, the last one coming Nov. 5 against the New Jersey Devils.
“It’s something where I set in my mind this summer to come in this year in good shape and be ready to roll and turn last year’s bad luck into good luck,” McLennan said. “Hopefully this is a step.”
With the game tied at 2 after two periods, Donovan put the Flames ahead 1:38 into the third when he got in behind the Sharks defense, neatly controlled a bouncing puck at his feet and slapped a high shot over the glove of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
“It’s always exciting when I get a goal, they don’t really come that often,” Donovan said.
He entered the game at 2:43 of the second period when Flames starter Roman Turek was injured after a collision with Alyn McCauley in front of the goal. McCauley scored on the play to put the Sharks ahead 2-1.
As he cut towards the goal from the left wing, McCauley neatly tucked a shot over Turek and just the under the crossbar before crashing into the Flames goaltender as he tried to leap over him.
Both Turek and McCauley laid on the ice for several minutes afterwards, requiring attention from medical staff. Both were helped off the ice, though McCauley was able to walk with little help, and neither returned.
“When you come into a situation like the home opener, everyone’s ready, you’re all excited, everyone wants to be in the game so it wasn’t that hard,” McLennan said about his sudden entrance into the game. “The team really buckled down and took control of the game right after that.”
Nils Ekman had the other goal for San Jose (0-2-0).
“We seem to lose focus and take some careless penalties and killing penalties all night really slows down our defense,” Sharks defenseman Mike Rathje.
Calgary trailed 2-1 before Yelle tied the game with 8:44 left in the second when his wraparound shot went in off the skate of San Jose defenseman Mike Rathje.
Trailing 1-0, San Jose tied it with 1:44 left in the first when Ekman’s seemingly harmless shot from the corner eluded Turek.
Kobasew scored a power-play goal just over five minutes into the game toopen the scoring.
The Flames win for the second time in their last seven home openers. … San Jose LW Marco Sturm sported a full visor to protect his broken nose. Sturm was hit by a stray puck Thursday night in Edmonton while sitting on the bench. … Calgary made one lineup change from its opening game inserting LW Oleg Saprykin in for Krzysztof Oliwa. The Sharks also made one change withdefenseman Tom Preissing making his NHL debut in place of Jim Fahey.