Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Monahan lead Flames past Sharks 8-5
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each scored twice and added two assists, propelling the Calgary Flames to an 8-5 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night.
Sean Monahan had five assists for the Flames. His five-point game was a career best, and Gaudreau tied his career high with four points.
Calgary finished the calendar year first 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 had goals for the Flames, who improved to 8-1-3 in their last 12 home games.
Joonas Donskoi scored twice to lead the way for San Jose. Lukas Radil, Brent Burns and Joe Thornton also scored. The Sharks lost in regulation for just the second time in their last 11 games (7-2-2).
Lindholm gave Calgary a 5-3 lead with 27 seconds left in the second period on a pretty goal. Gaudreau raced down the right wing before stopping sharply, then sending a pass across the slot to Lindholm, who one-timed it past goalie Aaron Dell.
Lindholm’s 18th of the season marked a career high, surpassing the 17 goals he scored with Carolina in 2014-15.
Donskoi’s second of the night, 48 seconds into the third, drew the Sharks back within a goal, but Calgary 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 games, 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.
Tempers flared in the final minute. With 41 seconds left, all 10 skaters on the ice got involved in a melee in the Flames end. Then, with 23 seconds to go, a hit from Bennett on Radim Simek crumpled the Sharks defenseman, and Barclay Goodrow jumped in to fight Bennett. Afterward, players from both benches yelled angrily at each other.
NOTES: Calgary RW Michael Frolik returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous game and got 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 into 17th all-time. ... Dion Phaneuf was the previous player to have five assists in a game for the Flames on Dec. 13, 2007.
Sharks: Play at Colorado on Wednesday night.
Flames: Play at Detroit on Wednesday night.
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