By Curtis Pashelka/San Jose Mercury News
The Sharks shook off a scary injury to Justin Braun to hold on to an important Pacific Division victory Monday night.
Joel Ward scored the eventual game-winner with 9:39 left in the third period, and the Sharks held on to earn a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames to temporarily move into a tie for third place in the Pacific.
After Ward’s goal made it 5-3, Calgary’s Michael Ferland scored with 3:41 to go in the third to cut San Jose’s lead to one. But Martin Jones finished with 14 saves in the third as the Sharks won back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 15 and 17 against Montreal and Toronto.
After a dismal second period, Brent Burns scored on the power play with 14:48 left in the third to give the Sharks a 4-3 lead.
Burns’ goal came shortly after Braun was caught in the visor by a shot from Flames defenseman Kris Russell. Braun was bleeding heavily as he was helped off the ice 2:36 into the third period, but he returned to the game with 4:16 to go.
The Sharks suffered another scary, possibly more serious injury, early in the first period as Tommy Wingels collided in the neutral zone with Joonas Donskoi.
Wingels came off the ice and left the Sharks bench shortly afterward for the dressing room. He returned for two short shifts later in the first period but did not come back to the game after the first intermission.
The Sharks didn’t have the same parade to the penalty box Monday as they did December 8, when they gave the Flames seven power-play chances at the Saddledome. But the penalties they did take Monday were more costly.
With the Sharks leading 3-1, Mike Brown took a double-minor for high sticking Matt Stajan 8:33 into the second period, and Burns tripped Johnny Gaudreau 95 seconds later to give the Flames a two-man advantage.
Calgary profited with two goals, first by Dennis Wideman and then Sam Bennett 10 seconds later. Bennett found a seam in the Sharks defense on a Flames rush, took a pass from Mikael Backlund and beat Jones high on the glove hand side.
The Sharks took three minor penalties and were outscored 2-0 in their 4-2 loss to the Flames last month. Logan Couture’s first goal of the season came 1:53 into the second period and gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead, as he stole the puck off the stick of Backlund then shot from a sharp angle to beat Ramo
Couture started the game as the third-line centre between Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. But he was moved up the second line toward the end of the first period. The Sharks scored two goals in the first period for the first time in seven games, and had a 2-1 lead after the first period.
Just 5:07 into the first period, Joe Thornton stripped Joe Colbourne of the puck inside the Flames blue line and tipped the puck to Joe Pavelski. Pavelski then passed it right back to Thornton, who beat Karri Ramo for a 1-0 Sharks lead.
The Sharks took a 2-0 lead 4:20 later on a delayed call to the Flames. Chris Tierney found Brenden Dillon at the point, and Dillon’s shot was steered by Donskoi past Ramo.
The Flames cut the Sharks lead to one as a high rebound off Jones’ shoulder was eventually collected by Sean Monahan, who beat Jones with 6:15 left in the first.
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