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Gameday Primer: Bringing the work ethic

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames


SAN JOSE -- Ladies and gentlemen. We now have a series on our hands.

And an unpredictable one at that. The Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks have not followed any particular script yet this series. So why would that change for tonight's Game 5 at the HP Pavilion (8 p.m., CBC and The Fan 960). Every time it seems that one team has the momentum, the other takes it away. There has been more line juggling than at the Barnum and Bailey Circus. More ebbs and flows than a flooding river.

The one thing that will be constant tonight is work ethic. Both teams have realized that hard work is going to win this series.

"We've got to be sure everybody is ready to go. It's important to get the lead. But it is also important to establish a good, strong game -- one that we're physical, skating and doing everything hard.. When you do that, you create momentum," said defenceman Robyn Regehr.

We've got to be sure everybody is ready to go...and doing everything hard - Flames d-man Robyn Regehr

With the series tied at 2-2, this game is considered a turning point with the winner clearly favoured to win the first round series. Needless to say, emotions are running high.

Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr challenged some of his teammates to do more, work harder and sacrifice in Game 5. Jarome Iginla was spotted by media arguing with assistant coach Rich Preston Wednesday. That doesn't mean the Flames are unravelling. Remember, following a loss in Game 3 to the Flames, Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov said: "It takes men to play this sport, not a bunch of boys." That calling out made headlines, too. It may have helped the Sharks heading into Game 4, which they eventually won.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Flames registered just 10 shots on net against the Sharks in Game 4. That's a team record and one that the Flames are not proud of. If there is anything that might change tonight it will be getting pucks to the net and crashing the net. The Sharks have become a swarming group of pests around the Flames net this series. Look for the Flames to return the favour...The biggest player on the ice this series is Doug Murray, the Sharks defenceman who tips the Toledo at 240 pounds...Iginla leads the Flames in shots this series wth 16. However, he had just one shot in Tuesday's 3-2 loss in Game 4...Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf is averagin 27 minutes of ice time per game...
BETWEEN THE PIPES: The goaltending throughut this series has been very good -- you need to bury the chances you get or else. Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, despite being pulled from Game 3, has been stellar He made two excellent saves on Patrick Marleau in Game 4 to keep things close for the Flames. Evgeni Nabokov hasn't been as busy in the Sharks net but he has made his share of saves, too. He robbed Daymond Langkow in close when he managed to get a shoulder on a shot that then tipped off the crossbar in Game 4. Had the Flames scored on that third period attempt the Flames ould likely be leading this series 3-1 with plenty of chance sto finish off the Sharks.
THE OTHER SIDE: Much of the focus on the Sharks side of things has been Joe Thornton. Yes, he got the game-winner in Game 4 with nine seconds left in the game. But the Sharks top player this series might just be Patrick Marleau. Crushed in Game 3 by a thundering Cory Sarich hit, Marleau looks the part of a hockeye player, complete with the bruised face and black eye. "He's our leader. He can barely see out of one eye and he's out there playing his heart out." Marleau has a goal and three assists in four games in the series.
KEEP AN EYE ON: For the Flames: Flames captain Jarome Iginla has two goals and four assists in four games and has shown that he can dominate. He is obviously ornery after losing Game 4 as he had a heated argurment with assistant coach Rich Preston Wednesday before the team flew to San Jose for tonight's game. When Iginla is ornery, good things usually happen for the Flames. For the Sharks: Grinding forward Ryane Clowe continues to hurt the Flames. He is having a breakout series with four goals and seven points thus far. He is often deploed on the top line now and will get power play time. Clowe is a 25-year-old sixth round pick of the Sharks who is in his third NHL season.

THE ROSTER: The Flames are expected to ice the same line-up meaning F Dustin Boyd, D Anders Eriksson and F David Moss will be sitting. D Rhett Warrener (ankle) is now skating with the team .F Mark Smith (head, neck) is definitely out. The Flames have a number of Black Aces with the team now including Grant Stevenson. He is a former Shark who toiled for the Flames this season in Quad Cities of the American Hockey League.

QUOTABLE 1: "There are a bunch of guys that aren't being hard enough and not giving enough effort." -- Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr calling for more from his teammates in Game 5.
QUOTABLE 2: "It's an old saying but it's true. Work will beat skill. A hard-working team will beat skill every time and that's what we did." -- Sharks defenceman Douglas Murray, speaking about San Jose's 3-2 win in Game 4 to knot the series at 2-2

WORTH NOTING: The Flames created some fireworks for the media on Wednesday when Jarome Iginla and assistant coach Rich Preston were spotted arguing in the back portion of the Flames dressing room following a team meeting. Is it a big deal? Probably not. Coaches and players disagree all the time. The Flames have, for most of the season, had open door policies when it comes to players making suggestions and vica versa. Head coach Mike Keenan said he wasn't worried about the exchange. "None at all. I think it brings clarity and accountability to certain situations. No, I don't have any issues. If you're in a family and you have brothers and if you have a fight with your brother, it doesn't mean you don't care for them or things aren't going to be settled out."

BROADCASTS: CBC television and The Fan 960 radio
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