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Gameday Primer: Staying out of the box

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames



CALGARY -- Prior to the start of the Calgary-San Jose first round playoff series, Flames captain Jarome Iginla was asked if there was one specific key to victory over the seven game joust.

After some thought Iginla pinpointed special teams. "Always special teams," he said. That became very evident in Game 2 as the Sharks spent more than 16 minutes with the man advantage in claiming a 2-0 win and tying the series at a game a piece heading into Sunday night's game at the Pengrowth Saddledome (8 p.m., CBC and The Fan 960).

The Sharks registered a total of 21 of their 43 shots on goal with the man advantage but were just 1-10. That's a huge tribute to the penalty-killing units who worked extremely hard in Game 2. The penalty kill was one of the big positives coming out of the Game 2 loss. "We couldn't have done any better," said head coach Mike Keenan.

Needless to say, the Flames will look to keep some of their aggression in check while continuing to play a tough, hard-nosed brand of hockey against the Sharks. "We have to play hard but we have to play smart," noted defenceman Jim Vandermeer. "Guys are disapointed in the way we lost. We beat ourselves."

"We are at our best as a team when we stay out of the box," said Iginla. And that is true. Five-on-five the shots on goal and the scoring chances were fairy even in Game 2 at the Shark Tank. The Flames put 15 of their 21 shots on goalie Evgeni Nabokov while playing with five skaters each. The Sharks had 17 shots five-on-five. Interestingly, neither team scored five-on-five. The Sharks first goal of the game was in a four-on-four situation and the second came at the end of six straight penalties to Calgary.

After just two games, the physicality of the series has also gained momentum. The Sharks and Flames combined for 31 hits in Game 2 and San Jose was doing all it could to get to the Flames net and bother Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. Defebceman Dion Phaneuf, charged with keeping Sharks away from the crease responded with a game-high six belts on Shark players.

CHECK YOUR TICKETS: If you are planning on attending the game, please note that this is Round One Game A on your tickets. The Sea of Red is expected to be out in full force beginning with a tailgate party and other assorted fan-based activities and fun beginning two hours before game time.
BY THE NUMBERS: Both teams bocked 14 shots in Game 2. Jarome Iginla had five shots on goal in Game 2 but Joe Pavelski, the sharks sophmore forward fired eight on the Flames net. Patrick Marleau and Torrey Mitchell, normally a shutdown, defensive player, had five shots each. Dion Phaneuf led all players in ice time in Game 2 with 28:41 over 30 shifts. Shark Brian Campbell, also a defenceman, led the Sharkies with 28:06 in ice time...Shark Joe Thornton is known more for his offensive prowess but in Game 2 he blocked five shots. That was one more than Flame Stephane Yelle.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: "Yeah, it was a little busy int he second period," deadpanned Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff following the Flames 2-0 loss in Game 2. No kidding. He faced 27 shots in the Flames net, 18 of them on powerplays. Certainly the Flames will look to reduce the number of pucks the Sharks direct at the Flames net. Evgeni Nabokov, in the Sharks net, put in a strong performance in Game 2 making three key glove saves on Jarome Iginla, Cory Sarich and Owen Nolan, the latter making all the highlight reels.
ON THE DOTS: The Flames had an off-night in Game 2 in the face-off circle, winning just 37 per cent of the draws. Their best was Daymond Langkow who who wson seven of 10. The Sharks Patrick Marleau won eight of 10 while Torrey Mitchell won seven of nine.
KEEP AN EYE ON: For the Flames...Captain Jarome Iginla did not score in the first two games of the series but with the Flames getting the last change at home, he may get some more favourable match-ups. The line of Wayne Primeau, David Moss and Eric Nystrom has been an effective third line for the Flames so far. They bring some feisty elements as well as some skill. Shark Joe Pavelski likes to shoot plenty and is sneaky at getting scoring chances...Shark Patrick Marleau has shown how to use speed and has been robbed a couple of times by Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

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: "We took penalties, no doubt," said forward Alex Tanguay. "But we are not going to blame the officials. We knew it was going to be a tough series. It's one-one now. We feel we have played pretty well in the first couple of games. We have to carry that through Sunday. We feel good about our situation."

WORTH NOTING: The Flames and Sharks have met twice before in the playoffs. Their last meeting was in 2004 when the Flames won the Conference Final in six games. In that series the Flames won three games in San Jose, the first two and Game 5...Jarome Iginla skated with a new centre on Saturday as Craig Conroy was placed between he and Alex Tanguay. Will it hold until gametime Sunday? Not even Iginla was sure. The Flames have made those kinds of switches before but Daymond Langkow is never far from the first line...D Rhett Warrener, who is recovering from an ankle injury, skated with the team on Saturday...

BROADCASTS: CBC television and The Fan 960 radio
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