Flames, Sharks meet to end unsuccessful campaigns

Apr 17, 2024, 7:17 PM | Updated: May 24, 2024, 4:41 am

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01: Klim Kostin #10 of the San Jose Sharks is congratulated by teammat...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Mercifully, the season is coming to an end for both the host Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks when they meet on Thursday.

Both squads fell well short of reaching the Stanley Cup playoffs — it’s the second consecutive year without a postseason for Calgary and the fifth straight for the Sharks.

“It’s on us as players to remember this feeling. … You’ve got to be better, you’ve got to learn, you’ve got to adapt, you’ve got to grow,” Sharks forward Luke Kunin told The Mercury News. “Hopefully our young guys that are going through this, they don’t like this taste either. I know they don’t like the feeling or the taste, and hopefully, we can get out of it together.”

The Sharks, who suffered a 9-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in their penultimate game, will finish at the bottom of the league standings and have the best odds for the No. 1 pick in this summer’s draft.

San Jose (19-53-9, 47 points), which opened the season with 11 straight losses (0-10-1), can take solace in the fact that it will be adding more young talent to a group that went through a massive rebuild.

“We’re in the middle of something that is going well, despite the results we’re getting right now,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “I’ve said this repeatedly, we’re in a much better position to get better, quicker than we were two years ago. Just look at all the players that we’ve traded and got rid of over the last two years so we can get better and be consistently good, competing for Stanley Cups.

“Unfortunately, this is what you have to suffer though.”

San Jose forward Mikael Granlund heads into the finale riding a career-best-tying 12-game point streak in which he has recorded two goals and 12 assists.

The Flames are learning what a roster rebuild looks like. In the past year, they traded away five key veteran players who were pending unrestricted free agents. At the March 8 trade deadline, Calgary was within striking distance of a playoff spot, but it heads into the last game of the season with only six victories in the past 19 games.

The Flames (37-39-5, 79 points) sit 24th overall and are a good bet — depending on how the lottery works out for them — to draft in the top 10 for the first time since 2016.

Through the struggles, the Flames have consistently shown plenty of effort, but they have not seen results. A prime example is their 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, a game in which Calgary outshot the Pacific Division regular-season champions by a 40-31 margin.

“I liked the effort. Not the result,” Flames coach Ryan Huska said. “But the effort was there for us for, I felt, the full 60 minutes. We made three mistakes coming back into our own zone off the rush; we lost people. And then one turnover, but other than those mistakes, I liked what we did.”

The lone Calgary goal was scored by defenseman Brayden Pachal, who was claimed off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights in February.

“It definitely feels good,” Pachal said. “Obviously, you wish it would have sparked a little bit of a comeback, but we fell a bit short. Still feels nice, but would’ve felt a lot sweeter with a win.”

–Field Level Media


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