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Gameday Primer: Sharks get hungry

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

 


GAMEDAY PRIMER: 10.04.08 ROUND 1, GAME 2 FLAMES VS. SHARKS

SAN JOSE -- The Calgary Flames have the San Jose Sharks where they want then heading into Game 2 of their first round Stanley Cup Playoff series. They have them down a game. But they know, too, that the Sharks wil be raring to go at the HP Pavilion when the puck drops on tonight's match-up.


The Sharks, heavily favoured by the experts, plan to go hard from the first whistle and get plenty of traffic in front of Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. It will be the duty of the Flames defence to clear a path. "It's our job to make sure he sees the shots," noted Dion Phaneuf, who scored in Game 1 on the power play.

San Jose hasn't gone into panic mode or anything. This series will likely be a long one.

"We have to win four of seven games," said Sharks coach Ron Wilson. "We don't have to win four in a row."

Fair enough. But the odds are better than 80 per cent that the team losing the first two games of a series will indeed be eliminated, which is why the Flames will be ready to go tonight, too.

"We expect them to come out with authority tonight. We realize the situation they are in. We want to be ready for it. Part of the preparation is knowing what the other team's situation is," said Calgary coach Mike Keenan.

BY THE NUMBERS: Calgary's Jarome Iginla played ore than 23 minutes in the game on Wednesday. During the second period he was depoyed in a bunch of different situations -- even taking back-to-back shifts, let alone double shifts. It is a testament to Iginla's fitness that allows Flames coaches to use him so much and a testament to how well-rounded his game is that he can play in all those situations. Flames coach Mike Keenan said Iginla is among the most fittest hockey athletes he has ever worked with -- and Keenan has been around the NHL and international competition for a long time. "His recovery time is quick," said Keenan."He is an exceptionally trained athlete."
BETWEEN THE PIPES: The goalies will be the same as in Game 1. Miikka Kiprusoff was named the first star of the game having made key saves at key times in the game. He'll need to be at the top of his game again if the Flames are going to steal two out of the Shark Tank. He had a .949 save percentage in the first game. His counterpart, Evgeni Nabokov had a .870 save percentage so Game 1 goes to Kiprusoff in the goaltending duel.
THE OTHER SIDE: The headline in the San Jose Mercury news read: Sharks Stumble. The sub-head read, Quick Turnaround Needed. That pretty much says how much pressure is on the Sharks heading into Game 2.

THE ROSTER: The Flames are expected to ice the same line-up meaning F Dustin Boyd and D Anders Eriksson will be sitting. D Rhett Warrener (ankle) and F Mark Smith (head, neck) are definitely out. Calgary held an optional skate and a handful ofplayers took to the ice. The majority of the morning skate or practice involved video prep for tonight's game.

QUOTABLE: "He has won a Stanley Cup and he looks forward to this time of year. He thrives on the competition of the Stanley Cup Playoffs." -- Flames coach Mike Keenan on Stephane Yelle, who scored twice, including the game winner in Game 1 on Wednesday.

WORTH NOTING: The Flames may stay over in San Jose or they may head home after the game. It depends on how long the game goes. San Jose has a fly-out curfew of 11:30 p.m. so a lengthy overtime would preclude the Flames from getting out of town...There is some interesting line-matching going on but Flames coach Mike Keenan wasn't tipping his hand on the strategy. "As a coach you try and deploy your 360 minutes in a game as best you can," he smiled.

 
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