SAN JOSE, Calif. – San Jose coach Todd McLellan juggled his lines over the weekend in hopes of finding the secondary scoring that had been lacking for much of this season for the Sharks.
Even he couldn’t have expected the type of immediate payoff the move has made. The Sharks set a franchise record by getting goals from eight players, including all six on the new second and third lines, as San Jose rolled to a 9-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.
Joe Pavelski ended a nine-game goal-scoring drought with the first of three first-period goals and had three assists to set a career high with four points for San Jose.
“No doubt it’s helped,” Pavelski said of having Manny Malhotra on his line with Devin Setoguchi. “It’s shown on the sheet. … For whatever reason, it’s helped through every line.”
Dany Heatley scored twice on a night when 14 of the 18 skaters for San Jose had a goal or an assist. The eight goal-scorers broke the franchise record of seven last reached in a 9-4 win over Detroit on Jan. 4, 2007.
Malhotra and Scott Nichol also scored in the first for San Jose, which has won 13 of 16 games to tie Chicago for the most points in the NHL.
Jed Ortmeyer, Ryane Clowe, Devin Setoguchi and Rob Blake added goals as the Sharks broke out to a 7-0 lead and blew out their longtime nemesis. Ortmeyer and Nichol each had had a goal and two assists to tie career highs for points in a game.
“It’s nice to get rewarded,” said Nichol, who had gone 26 games without a goal. “We put a lot of hard work in on our line. It’s nice to get a few bounces here and there. That’s why we play the game. It’s fun to score. We have our roles, but it’s nice to chip in and help guys out that way.”
Miikka Kiprusoff, who had won six of his last eight starts against his former team, allowed six goals on 34 shots before being pulled after two periods. Curtis McElhinney gave up three more goals in the third period for the Flames, who allowed their most goals in a game in four years.
Calgary has lost five straight for the first time since November 2007. Captain Jarome Iginla has not scored a goal in nine games.
“It’s obviously very embarrassing and disappointing,” coach Brent Sutter said. “There are certain things you expect from individuals and we didn’t come close to it. It’s very humbling to see what happened. When you get beat this bad you better realize it’s a wakeup call.”
McLellan made the changes on the second and third lines before Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Edmonton in hopes of getting production from outside the top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Heatley. Malhotra moved up to the second line with Pavelski and Setoguchi, while Clowe dropped to the third line with Nichol and Ortmeyer.
The move has paid immediate dividends with Setoguchi scoring twice to snap a nine-game goal-scoring drought Saturday. All six forwards on those lines scored against the Flames. Before the switch, the Sharks had gone six games with the only goals from forwards coming from the top line.
“I don’t think it has a lot to do with me juggling the lines,” McLellan said. “I just think they got it going, and it’s going their way right now. Sometimes a change here and there can trigger it, but in this case I don’t think that’s it.”
Pavelski got the rout started when he knocked home the rebound of a shot from the point by Douglas Murray just over four minutes in for his first goal since Dec. 30.
Just over two minutes later, Malhotra picked up the puck in his zone and rushed up ice past Dion Phaneuf before beating Kiprusoff with a wrist shot. At that point, the Sharks had two goals on 10 shots while Calgary only managed one shot.
That was the way the entire game went as the Sharks had 17 shots in each of the first two periods, while Calgary managed just four in the first and eight in the second against Evgeni Nabokov. San Jose outshot Calgary 46-21 for the game, allowing only a third-period goal to Robyn Regehr.
While this game was won by the production on San Jose’s second and third lines, the top trio got involved late in the second when Heatley scored his 28th goal of the season on the power play to make it 5-0. Heatley added his 29th in the third to make it 9-1. That prompted chants of “We want 10! We want 10!” from the crowd.
“That’s about rock bottom,” Flames forward Eric Nystrom said. “The only place to go is up from here. You guys aren’t blind, there are a lot of things we have to do to get better. It’s about pride and we didn’t have very much today.”
NOTES: This matched the most lopsided win in this rivalry for the Sharks, who beat the Flames 8-0 on Dec. 4, 2000. … San Jose’s top three scorers have been held without a goal only 10 times in 50 games this season. … The Flames have allowed 14 goals in the past two games, falling 5-4 in Anaheim on Sunday.