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Game Rush: Flames vs. Sharks

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
FINAL

2-1


CALGARY, AB -- After a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Calgary Flames playoff hopes laid directly on the Vancouver Canucks shoulders.

The Flames divisional rivals were playing the Colorado Avalanche loss on Tuesday night and a Avs loss would keep Calgary in the playoff race. Unfortunately, the Canucks fell 4-3 in a shootout.

"Obviously it's a bad feeling right now," Mark Giordano said quietly. "But we have to find a way to be professional about it and go out and play hard."

Miikka Kiprusoff was his usual self in the loss, stopping 24 of 26 shots on net and afterwards, his teammates said they felt as if they let him down after an absolutely spectacular season.

"Miikka ... I feel bad for him," Craig Conroy sighed. "He had of his best seasons I think. For us not to be able to give him two or three goals ... when we were scoring three or four goals at the beginning of the year, it wasn't even close. We were winning all the games and then we just went dry."

Many of the assembled media questioned the Flames offensive woes as the downfall to the 2009-10 season but Giordano said that pinpointing one issue as the reason Calgary didn't make the postseason was too simplistic.

"It's easy to say we need more offense. I think everyone's trying to do their part and it just wouldn't go. If we had the answers, we wouldn't be sitting here tonight. I guess we'll just go over things as a team and stick together in times like this. All we can do right now is look forward to the next game."

Rob Blake gave the Sharks the early lead after Ian White was handed a holding penalty. With just two seconds remaining on the the Sharks power play, the veteran blasted a shot from the blueline with a screen in front of Kiprusoff and the netminder wasn't able to see the shot until it was behind him.

The Flames did keep the pressure up through the first 20 minutes, with a couple excellent scoring chances, but the glove hand of Evgeni Nabokov kept them off the board. He was able to snare a Rene Bourque shot that ended up being the save of the game.

The Sharks gained a two-goal cushion at 5:47 of the second stanza when Jamie McGinn sent a backhand shot past a fallen Kiprusoff.

Calgary got themselves back into the game in the third period after Blake was called for delay of game. Jay Bouwmeester sent a hard shot wide stick side on Nabokov and Bourque was parked all alone on the side of the net. The shot went right to his stick for the easy tap-in.

The Flames kept the pressure up to the dying seconds but they couldn't beat Nabokov for that tying goal, ending their postseason hopes.

The Flames play their last home game of the regular season on Thursday. They square off against the Minnesota Wild at 7:30 p.m. MST on Sportsnet West & The FAN 960.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST
A lackuster first 40 minutes in which the Flames couldn't generate any sort of offense killed their playoff hopes. They did storm back in the third period but excellent play by Nabokov kept them to a single tally. Their power play wasn't up to snuff in the first two stanzas and that inability - along with allowing a power play goal - really hindered their chances of winning.

GAME NOTES
The Flames sat out D Adam Pardy, F Brian McGrattan, F Curtis Glencross, F Christopher Higgins and F Daymond Langkow. The Sharks scratched D Jay Leach, F Brad Staubitz and F Jed Ortmeyer.

TONIGHT'S DIGITS
26 - Goals for Bourque in 71 games this season.

5 - Shots on net for Ales Kotalik and Mark Giordano.

24:26 - Ice time for Bouwmeester.

38 - Saves for Nabokov.

5 - Hits for Eric Nystrom.

QUOTABLE
"It's disappointing, it's frustrating right now. You're still hoping and once they scored, it was over." - Conroy on watching the Avalanche win in a shootout.

"It's not how you want it to end obviously. It's hard to play catch-up here down the stretch. We tried our best and you loss a couple games and you're right back behind. Before you know it, there's not enough games left to catch up. There's not many words to say right now other than we're all feeling disappointed." - Matt Stajan

"Guys worked right to the end and I really thought we were going to come all the way back in the third and win a close one." - Jarome Iginla.

HARDEST WORKING FLAMES

Prust

Kiprusoff

Bourque
Miikka Kiprusoff
Gave his team a real chance to win, stopped 24 shots.
Rene Bourque
Had a great 3rd period, scored the lone goal, 4 shots.
Jay Bouwmeester
His heads up play got the Flames on the board, 3 shots on net.



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