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Couture, Marleau lead Sharks past Flames, 3-2

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Logan Couture scored and set up Patrick Marleau’s tiebreaking goal as the San Jose Sharks beat the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Saturday night.

Justin Braun also scored and Antti Niemi finished with 33 saves to help the Sharks get their fourth straight win.

Mark Giordano and Johnny Gaudreau scored for Calgary, which snapped its four-game winning streak. Karri Ramo stopped 27 shots and snapped a personal six-game win streak.

Marleau scored the winner at 9:18 of the third period on a unique play. When Couture swatted at the puck behind the net, it deflected off the stick of Flames defenseman Giordano and went high into the air, sailed over top of the Calgary net and came down right in front of Marleau. Marleau then batted the puck out of the air past Ramo, who had no idea where the puck was.

After the Flames shut out San Jose 2-0 on Nov. 26, Sharks coach Todd McLellan put Couture, Marleau and Tommy Wingels together as a line. They have been sensational since.

During the four-game win streak, the trio has combined for 20 points. Wingels has been the best of the three with three goals and six assists in that stretch, including two assists on Saturday.

The Sharks had a 1:29 two-man advantage inside the game’s final 5 minutes but were unable to take advantage. With the Scotiabank Saddledome crowd buzzing, Calgary then went on the attack and eventually got a power play of their own with 1:19 left when Jiri Hudler was hauled down by Braun.

However, the Flames, who have made third-period comebacks their specialty all season, couldn’t tie it despite pulling Ramo for a 6-on-4.

A big moment in the game came late in the second period when the Sharks’ third-ranked power play failed to score on a penalty to Giordano. And 30 seconds later, the flames tied it with 2:11 remaining in the period.

Hudler’s long shot was stopped by Niemi, but with the puck lying against his outstretched pad, an uncovered Gaudreau at the top of the crease dug the puck free and and got his fifth of the season.

Gaudreau has 21 points to rank second in rookie scoring behind Nashville’s Filip Forsberg.

San Jose was outplayed by a wide margin most of the first period before turning it on in the final minute, forcing Ramo to make a couple of great saves. Though they didn’t score, the momentum seemed to carry over into the second period as the Sharks took just 33 seconds to tie it.

Kris Russell’s attempt to clear the puck around the boards hit Wingels in the shin and caromed sharply into the slot to Braun, who quickly sent a backhand past Ramo.

The Sharks scored again two minutes later when Flames defenseman Raphael Diaz whiffed on his attempt to clear the puck as it caromed off the end boards, enabling Couture to steal it and dart to the net where he rang a backhand off the far goal post.

Giordano scored with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the first period to give Calgary a 1-0 lead. It was the ninth goal and 28th point of the season for the Flames’ captain, who leads all NHL defensemen in scoring.

NOTES: Matt Stajan (knee) returned to Calgary’s lineup after missing 16 games. … Also playing was Brian McGrattan, a healthy scratch the past seven games. Scratched forwards were Brandon Bollig and Sven Baertschi. … San Jose’s Matt Nieto (undisclosed injury) did not play. Barclay Goodrow took his spot. … John Scott’s assist on Couture’s goal was his first assist in 120 games. His last assist was Dec. 16, 2011. … The Flames are 6-7-0 when trailing after two periods. The team record for comeback wins is seven, which has been done twice — last in 1987-88.

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