The Associated Press
SAN JOSE, Calif.–It wasn’t discussed before the Calgary Flames took the ice last night.
It didn’t have to be.
With a first divisional championship in 13 years within their grasp, they left nothing to chance.
The Flames scored three times in less than two minutes late in the first period on their way to clinching the top spots in the Western Conference and the Pacific Division with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks last night.
“Nothing was said,” Flames goalie Mike Smith acknowledged when asked about the mood in the locker before the game.
“It was pretty quiet as far as talking about that. There was a feeling that everyone knew what was at stake here, and I think we did a good job of looking after what we needed to look after,” he added.
Sean Monahan, Mark Jankowski, Dalton Prout, Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik all scored for Calgary, which won for the eighth time in 11 games. The Flames will have home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
It’s the first time the Flames have won their division since capturing the Northwest title in 2006.
Timo Meier and Logan Couture each had a goal and an assist and Kevin Labanc also scored for the Sharks, who lost for the eighth time in nine games after winning six straight.
The Flames held San Jose to a season-low 15 shots. The Sharks’ previous low was 20 against Boston on Feb. 26. San Jose managed just nine shots through the first two periods, and just three in the second.
The Sharks were coming off an emotional 4-3 overtime victory over Vegas on Saturday in which they clinched second in the Pacific. They looked fatigued Sunday.
San Jose will play Vegas in the first round.
Calgary trailed 1-0 on Meir’s 30th goal before Monahan tied it with his 34th at 14:45 of the first period.
Janikowski scored his 34th goal just 31 seconds later, and Prout scored his first of the season at with 3:47 left in the period to put the Flames up 3-1.
Sharks goalie Aaron Dell had 23 saves.
Backlund scored his 21st goal in the second period, and Frolik his 16th in the third to cap the scoring for Calgary.
In other NHL action yesterday, the Rangers wrangled the Flyers 3-0; the Red Wings beat the Bruins 6-3; the Blue Jackets blanked the Sabres 4-0; the Penguins downed the Hurricanes 3-1; and the Coyotes utterly tamed the Wild 4-0.