Notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Flames-Sharks game Wednesday at the Pengrowth Saddledome...
The Flames use the body big time tonight, delivering four big hits right from the drop of the puck, but the biggest one by far came courtesy of Dion Phaneuf at 1:02 of the opening frame. Just as Sharks' assistant captain Michael Grier races after the loose puck, Phaneuf pops up out of nowhere and side swipes him, taking his shoulder to the San Jose forward. Grier of course takes a tumble as his body crumbles to the ice.
Miikka Kiprusoff was spectacular in net tonight, especially with his glove hand, making save after save through 60 minutes of play. One of the first big saves the netminder made was at 3:03 in the first on San Jose's Milan Michalek. It started when the Sharks' forward deked out Adrian Aucoin, leaving him all alone against Kiprusoff, and snapped a fierce shot on the Flames' netminder. But as per his usual, the cool and collected Kiprusoff shot his glove up into the air to make the save.
The Flames were trailing the Sharks 1-0 heading into the second, but Owen Nolan turned that around in a hurry with a nifty backhand goal at 6:04 in the middle frame. Alex Tanguay dished the puck out to Nolan, who not really lining himself up with the net, spun around and backhanded it in Evgeni Nabokov's direction. The shot hit just the right spot on the net and coasted past the Sharks' netminder tying the game at one. Nolan's goal picked the team up and they were back in the thick of things, scoring 22 seconds later after a goal from Wayne Primeau. Nolan went on to score two more goals for the hat trick and Dion Phaneuf scored in the second off one of his infamous one-timers.
Tensions quite high between the two Western Conference rivals, both wanting to extend their winning streaks going into tonight's game. It was obvious not only from the team's physical presence on the ice, especially on the Flames behalf, but also due to a number of fights. A little more then three minutes following Nolan's first goal, the Flames' veteran gets into a scrap with Michael Grier. Although the fight was short-lived, Nolan walks away the clear winner after landing a few good hits on the San Jose assistant captain. Blueliner Dion Phaneuf also matched up with Sharks' Devin Setoguchi at 13:27 in the first, but it was obvious the San Jose forward didn't want any part of it.
Owen Nolan had a big night registering his 11th career NHL hat trick and his first with the Flames. The last time the 35-year-old scored three goals in a game was back on October 4, 1999 when he was a member of the San Jose Sharks...Flames' captain Jarome Iginla was held off the scoreboard for his eighth straight game...Calgary is in the middle of a four-game win streak...The Flames went 7-3-1 during the month of January and were 9-1-4 in December...The Flames have 13 home and 18 road games before the end of the regular season...Calgary is now 2-1-0 against the Sharks with one matchup to go at HP Pavilion.
By The Numbers
55 - Flames face-off percentage
31 - shots on goal for the Sharks
8 - games Jarome Iginla has went scoreless in
5 - hits for San Jose defenceman Douglas Murray
5 - shots on goal for Daymond Langkow
4 - straight games the Flames have won
3 - blocked shots for Flames' Dustin Boyd
3 - goals for Owen Nolan for the hat trick
2 - assists for Craig Conroy
The Flames kick off the month of February with a match-up at the Pengrowth Saddledome against the Dallas Stars Saturday. Game time is 8:00 p.m. MT on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. The last time the Flames and Stars met at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary lost 3-2 in overtime. Fans can also catch the game on The FAN 960 radio.