Flames beat Sharks, clinch playoff spot

Apr 1 2017, 2:37 am

With a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night, the Calgary Flames punched their ticket back into the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Calgary got goals from Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan, Alex Chiasson, and an empty-netter from Sam Bennett to seal the victory.

The Flames will hold their spot as the first wild card team, and are now just one point back of San Jose for third place in the Pacific Division with four games left in the regular season. They’re also just three points back of Edmonton, and four points back of Anaheim for first in the division.

This is just Calgary’s second trip to the playoffs in the past eight years.

While the Flames rode a wave of dramatic third period comeback wins on their way to the playoffs two years ago, you get the feeling that this year’s performance is more sustainable. Gaudreau and Monahan are two years older/wiser, Mark Giordano is healthy, and Brian Elliott has become a stabilizing force in goal.

The Flames will next play a pair of crucial games against Anaheim on Sunday and Tuesday, before closing out the season against Los Angeles and San Jose on Thursday and Saturday.

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