Flames Burn Sharks – Gaudreau & Tkachuk Have 4 Points Each

CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each scored twice and added two assists to lift the Calgary Flames to a thrilling 8-5 win over the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

Sean Monahan added five assists. His five-point nights was a career best while Gaudreau’s four tied a career best.

The Flames finished the calendar year in top spot in the Pacific Division, two points up on the Vegas Golden Knights and three ahead of the Sharks.

Mikael Backlund scored twice and Elias Lindholm and James Neal also scored for Calgary (24-12-4). The Flames improved to 8-1-3 in their last dozen games at home.

Joonas Donskoi scored twice to lead the way for San Jose (21-13-7). Lukas Radil, Brent Burns and Joe Thornton also scored. The Sharks lost in regulation for just the second time in their last 11 (7-2-2).

Lindholm gave Calgary a 5-3 lead with 27 seconds left in the second period on a pretty goal. Johnny Gaudreau raced down the right wing before stopping sharply, then sending a pass across the slot to Lindholm, who one-timed it past Aaron Dell.

Lindholm’s 18th goal of the season is a career-high, surpassing the 17 he scored with Carolina in 2014-15.

Donskoi’s second of the night, 48 seconds into the third, drew the Sharks back to within a goal, but Calgary again restored a two-goal cushion on the first goal in 25 games for Neal.

The goal was Neal’s fourth of the season and first since Nov. 1. Sam Bennett patiently circled the Sharks end with the puck before firing it across the slot and banking it in off Neal’s skate.

Three minutes later, goals 41 seconds apart from Gaudreau — his 20th and 21st of the season — made it 8-4 and put the game away.

David Rittich, making his seventh start in the last eight, finished with 28 stops to get the win. He improved to 13-4-3.

Dell went the distance for San Jose. The eight goals allowed came on 27 shots as he fell to 5-5-3.

San Jose Sharks Aaron Dell
San Jose Sharks goalie Aaron Dell (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Tempers boiled over in the final minute of the game. With 41 seconds left, all 10 skaters on the ice got involved in a melee in the Flames end. Then with 23 seconds left a hit from Bennett on Radim Simek crumpled the Sharks defenceman and Barclay Goodrow jumped in to fight Bennett. The incident resulted in players from both benches yelling angrily at each other.

Notes: Calgary RW Michael Frolik returned to the line-up after being a healthy scratch last game and he recorded his first two assists of the season. The first was the 200th of his career… Thornton played career game No. 1,525, moving him ahead of Brendan Shanahan and into 17th all-time… Dion Phaneuf had the Flames’ last five-assist night on Dec. 13, 2007.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press