(SAN JOSE) -- There was only penalty called in tonight's game between the San Jose Sharks and the Calgary Flames, and the home team used it to the maximum advantage, scoring the game-winning goal on the only power-play opportunity of the night for either team.
Joe Pavelski scored his tenth power-play goal of the season on assists from Joe Thornton and Jason Demers in the second period, as the Sharks ground out a 3-2 win over the visiting Flames in front of 17,562 fans tonight at the SAP Center in San Jose.
The Sharks need to get their power play rolling if they want to push deeper into the postseason than ever before, and this was the kind of night they needed.
Pavelski had two goals on the night -- now five in his last two games -- for 27 goals on the season so far, in the team's 50th game. The Sharks are 32-12-6, including a 17-2-3 record at home.
The Flames dropped to 16-27-7 on the year, with a 9-13-4 record on the road.
But it was Calgary that drew first blood in this one, scoring on their first shot on goal of the game. Jiri Hudler beat Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi with a nice move in front of the net just 4:08 into the game to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
But San Jose battled back with two goals in the span of 21 seconds: first Pavelski and then Tommy Wingels, and suddenly the Sharks were back in business.
However, the Flames proved resilient: they tied it up just 51 seconds after Wingels' go-ahead score, and the first period ended in that 2-2 tie.
Enter Pavelski on the power play in period two: Calgary's Matt Stajan drew a two-minute penalty for interference, and just 26 seconds into the special-teams opportunity, Big Joe found Little Joe for what proved to be the game winner.
With the assist, Thornton moved past Hall of Famer Bobby Hull into sole possession of 48th place on the all-time scoring list in NHL history.
Niemi finished with 23 saves for the victory.
Since the Los Angeles Kings lost tonight, the Sharks gained two more points on the Southern California squad in the race for second place in the Pacific Division -- San Jose now leads L.A. by six points in the pursuit of home-ice advantage in the first round of the postseason.
The Sharks next face the Winnipeg Jets (22-23-5) on Thursday.