|Power forward Milan Michalek netted two goals in the San Jose Sharks 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.|
That’s the business mentality of the San Jose Sharks, who won back-to-back games for the first time this season by winning the first of a four-game road trip with a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Monday night.
San Jose (5-3-1) received a lot of help from power forward Milan Michalek, who scored twice on the evening to extend his impressive start to six goals in nine games. His first tally of the night came shorthanded, as he took control of the puck from Calgary’s Alex Tanguay and broke down the right wing before swatting home his own rebound past Mikko Kiprusoff to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
It was a total breakdown by the Flames’ power play, which had four forwards on the ice at the time. Tanguay was unable to control the puck at the Sharks’ blue line, which enabled Michalek to gain control.
"They have a pretty good power play at home so that was a very important goal for us to get," Michalek said.
Tanguay, meanwhile, had no problem with taking the blame for the costly turnover.
"It was a stupid play and it shifted the momentum of the game," the Flames’ forward said.
Ryan Clowe scored the game’s first goal with a power play tally in the final minute of the first period. The play was made possible by Jeremy Roenick, who quickly noticed that Clowe was alone at the edge of the crease, where the latter fired home the veteran’s pass to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. It was Clowe’s third goal of the season.
Steve Bernier made it a 3-0 game with a power play goal of his own at the 16:22 mark of the second period. Bernier, who entered the night with one goal in San Jose’s first eight games, was able to tip in Craig Rivet’s shot from the point, prompting Flames coach Mike Keenan to yank Kiprusoff in favor of Curtis McElhinney. Kiprusoff stopped 15 of 18 shots.
Michalek put the game out of reach with his second goal of the night 5:33 into the third period. It was the only shot recorded by the Sharks in the final 20 minutes, and one of only two that McElhinney faced in relief of Kiprusoff.
Daymond Langkow ruined what would have been Nabokov’s second straight shutout at the 17:27 mark of the third period with his eighth goal of the season. The Flames thought they had scored early in the first, when a David Hale rebound deflected off the arm of enforcer Eric Godard and past Nabokov. But replays showed that Godard slightly moved his arm toward the puck as he headed for the net, which negated the tally with 3:59 left in the opening period.
Nabokov blanked the Nashville Predators in a 3-0 win on Saturday. While Sharks coach Ron Wilson must have been pleased with his goaltender’s play, he was extremely proud of Michalek’s performance.
"He scored, he blocked shots, he was making plays, killing penalties on the power play,” Wilson said. “He played really well tonight. It was easily his best game of the year."
Game 2 of San Jose’s road trip continues at Detroit on Friday night, when it will look for its third straight win.
"If we can't win two games in a row in this league, we're just pretenders, so it was good," Wilson said.
The Flames (4-3-2) will look to rebound from their first regulation loss in six games on Wednesday night, when they host the red-hot Minnesota Wild. In order to do so, they’re going to have to better than they were on Monday.
"We weren't good enough," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "We look at ourselves and we know that wasn't even close. By no means did we deserve to be in that game. This is going to sting for a little bit, but we'll get ready for the next game."
Canadiens 6, Bruins 1 | 700K
Carey Price has shown glimpses that he will be a force to be reckoned with in this League for years to come.
For the time being, though, the Montreal Canadiens still appear to be Cristobal Huet’s team.
The Habs’ netminder made 31 saves on Monday night, helping his team coast to a victory over Boston at the Bell Centre. He kept the game scoreless early in the first period, when he stopped Glen Metropolit on a 2-on-1 chance, and Glen Murray couldn’t swat a rebound home as the Bruins were held off the board.
"I guess he was a little surprised and he couldn't really get his stick on it," Huet said of Murray’s missed opportunity. "I was pretty happy about that."
|It was a tough night for Bruins goaltender Manny Fernandez who surrendered all six goals in Boston's 6-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
"That's fun -- it gets everybody into the game," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said of the team-wide contribution. "We always talk about the top two lines who are there to score and play on the power play, but the third and fourth lines like to show what they can do, too. Usually, people don't notice the little things they do to help win games."
Chris Higgins got things going with his third goal of the season at the 12:14 mark of the opening period. After Saku Koivu won a draw in the Bruins’ zone, Mike Komisarek fired a shot that was denied by Boston netminder Manny Fernandez. But Higgins was able to beat Zdeno Chara to the rebound, and the Canadiens’ forward stuffed it past Fernandez for the 1-0 lead.
Alexei Kovalev made it a 2-0 game, thanks to a faceoff win by teammate Tomas Plekanec. The Canadiens’ center was able to beat Boston’s Marc Savard in the circle, and the puck went right to Kovalev, who fired a one-timer past Fernandez at the 6:28 mark of the second period for his fourth goal of the season.
"It cost us the first two goals, so it kind of changed the momentum of the game and then I guess we were backpedaling the rest of the game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of losing the two faceoffs. "If anything, we lost our composure."
Montreal took a three-goal lead when Steve Begin potted his first goal of the season at the 17:48 mark of the second period. Coming down a 2-on-1 with Tom Kostopoulos, the latter got around Bruins’ defenseman Aaron Ward before dishing the puck to Begin, who redirected it past Fernandez to make it 3-0.
"What a play. That's the way to be patient," Begin said. "What a move. He just faked the shot and he waited until the (defenseman) went down and then put it right on my stick."
The Canadiens put the game out of reach just 1:45 into the third on a power play goal by Patrice Brisebois. Boston tried to mount a comeback when Dennis Wideman scored a power play goal of his own at the 6:41 mark, but Montreal continued to pound away and got goals just 3:05 apart from Mikhail Grabovski and Andrei Markov to pull away. Fernandez finished with just 14 saves for the Bruins (5-3-0).
Grabovski’s tally came with an assist from Smolinski, as the veteran dished him the puck on a 2-on-1. It was Grabovski’s first NHL goal.
"I remember my first goal and it was just a play that happened," said Smolinski, who faked a shot before electing to pass. "It was just executing a 2-on-1, that's what you have to do."
Material from wire services was used in this report.