In a showdown between the best of the West, the San Jose Sharks stumbled to a 5-3 loss Sunday to the Calgary Flames at SAP Center.
The Sharks were flying high coming off a big Saturday night victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. But things unraveled quickly Sunday against the Flames.
Here are three takeaways from the game that clinched the Pacific Division for the Flames:
What happened after the first 12 minutes? It’s difficult to say, because up until that point in the first period, the Sharks looked like they had carried their momentum over from the night before. Just before Timo Meier scored his 30th goal of the season 12:01 into the game, San Jose was getting a ton of offensive zone time and creating chances.
It was the first time the Sharks scored the game's first goal since March 18, and also an opportunity to them to build on a lead instead of chasing another game. Instead, just a couple minutes later, they gave up three goals in a 75-second span.
How was the response? Last week, with his team in the middle of a seven-game losing streak, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer honed in on how San Jose had responded to falling behind early in games. On Saturday, the Sharks overcame a second-period deficit and even led in the third period.
On Sunday, however, it was the exact opposite.
San Jose only registered three shots on goal in the second period Sunday, failing to spend much time in the offensive zone. The Sharks then headed into the third period, trailing 4-1.
Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc each scored in the final frame, but San Jose got no closer than a two-goal deficit.
What has to be better? The Sharks have three games left in the regular season to try and turn things around before a first-round matchup with the Golden Knights. They started strong early on Sunday, but allowed the Flames to seize control of the game before the first period was over.
San Jose closes out the season against the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche. Those are three teams the Sharks should be able to beat.
But to do that, they’ll need to play much better than they did on Sunday.