Reimer’s late-game heroics paired with Couture’s game-winner leads Sharks past Flames 4-3

The San Jose Sharks kicked off a two-game Alberta road trip in Calgary Tuesday night, facing-off against the division-leading Flames.

Tuesday’s contest was the Sharks first game since the trade deadline that saw Andrew Cogliano and Jacob Middleton dealt.

Newly acquired goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen joined the team in Calgary Tuesday afternoon, but it was James Reimer between the pipes for the Sharks.

Johnny Gaudreau opened up the scoring, only 4:17 into the game with his 29th goal of the season. Just under four minutes after Gaudreau’s opening goal, Dillon Dube doubled the Flames lead with his 9th tally of the year.

With 5:06 left to play in the opening frame, Marc-Edouard Vlasic snuck in his 2nd goal of the season to cut the deficit in half. Vlasic collected the puck at the blue line and chipped a shot towards the net that found a hole through Jacob Markstrom.

San Jose took a 14-9 advantage in the shot department into the first intermission, having created multiple scoring chances throughout the period.

The Flames came out of the dressing room firing on all cylinders, just as they did to start the game. Mikael Backlund scored his 10th goal of the season 4:08 into the second period with a nifty move off a great pass from Gaudreau after a Sharks turnover to restore Calgary’s lead back to two.

With the middle frame starting to wind down, Timo Meier netted his team-leading 27th goal of the year with 2:30 left in the period. Meier chased down a rebound in the corner, where he collected the puck and spun around, immediately snapping the puck towards the net that deflected off an out of position Markstrom into the back of the net.

Heading into the third period with a lead, the Flames were in very comfortable territory, as they are 31-0-2 when leading after two periods this season.

With 8:53 left to play in the game, Alexander Barabanov potted his 10th goal of the season to cut the deficit back to one and put the Sharks right back in the game. Tomas Hertl set the play up from behind the net, dishing out a backdoor pass to Barabanov, who lifted the puck past Markstrom to tie the game.

Only 18 seconds after Barabanov tied the game, Logan Couture added another goal with his 21st of the season to give the Sharks their first lead of the game. After a failed Calgary clearing attempt, Noah Gregor skated in alone, ripping a shot off Markstrom’s right pad that deflected directly to Logan Couture, who snuck the puck five-hole into the back of the net.

With around six minutes to go in the game, potential disaster struck for the Sharks when Timo Meier got tangled up with Rasmus Andersson, resulting in Timo limping off the ice and heading straight to the dressing room for the rest of the game. Meier would be a huge loss if the injury is deemed serious, as he is leading the team in goals this season with 29, points with 60, and is second on the team in assists with 33.

In the closing seconds of the game, with Calgary frantically trying to tie things up, James Reimer made some spectacular saves to preserve the San Jose lead. In a crazy sequence, Reimer robbed Matthew Tkachuk with a desperate, sprawling pad save to secure the win for the Sharks. James finished the game with 35 saves.

Alexander Barabanov ended the night with a goal and an assist, leading the Sharks top line to a huge game.

Team Teal’s comeback win marked the first time this season that the Flames lost a game in regulation when leading after two periods. San Jose is now 3-0-0 against Calgary this season.

The Sharks will be back in action Thursday night in Edmonton, where they will battle the Oilers to close out the Alberta road trip.

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