CALGARY - Jonathan Cheechoo scored the go-ahead goal and Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves as the San Jose Sharks won 2-1 Monday night over the Calgary Flames.
San Jose took its second lead of the night on the only goal of the second period when at 12:24, Brad Lukowich's slapshot from the blue-line was deflected past Miikka Kiprusoff by Cheechoo, who was positioned in the high slot.
That would be all the offence Nabokov would need as he made several clutch saves in the third period, turning aside 12 shots.
Nabokov's best save came on a power play midway through the period when, while sprawled on the ice, he reached back and was able to smother a shot from Mike Cammalleri as the Flames leading goal scorer tried to tuck in his 37th.
Earlier in the period, Nabokov also made an alert glove save off Eric Nystrom and kicked out a pad to thwart Adam Pardy from in-close.
Dan Boyle also scored for San Jose (50-15-11), while Joe Thornton had a pair of assists.
In reaching the 50 win mark for the second time in franchise history, the Sharks move four points up on the Detroit Red Wings in the race for first overall and the Presidents' Trophy.
Jarome Iginla scored for Calgary (43-27-6).
Thanks to a skid over the past month in which they have lost eight of their last 12, the Flames' lead atop the Northwest Division is now just one point over the Vancouver Canucks, who have seven games remaining compared to Calgary' six.
Vancouver will attempt to take over top spot Tuesday night when they play in Minnesota against the Wild.
Cheechoo was back in the Sharks injury-riddled line-up after missing two games with a lower body injury. The number of Sharks on the sideline remains at nine, as they were without captain Patrick Marleau (lower body injury), who got hurt in Saturday's win against Phoenix. Marleau is with the team on its two-game road trip to Alberta but is not expected to play Thursday night in Edmonton either.
Despite all the injuries, San Jose is 5-1-1 in its last seven games.
Trailing 1-0, Calgary tied the game at 15:09 of the first period on Iginla's 32nd goal of the season. Daymond Langkow sent a pass to Iginla at the face-off dot, and with Lukowich providing a screen, the Flames captain snapped a shot that Nabokov only got a portion of.
San Jose struck first taking advantage of an early two-man advantage when three seconds into Craig Conroy's penalty, Adrian Aucoin's clearing attempt errantly went over the glass for an automatic delay of game penalty. It took just 35 seconds for Thornton to spot Boyle creeping in from the blue-line, and from 20 feet out Boyle stepped into a centring pass from the Sharks captain wiring a slapshot into the top corner.
Calgary lost defenceman Cory Sarich late in the third period when he took a slapshot from Thornton off his skate. He was noticeably favouring his right foot as he was helped off the ice and went straight to the Flames dressing room. The Flames outshot San Jose 29-17 on the night.
Notes: The season series ends tied 2-2... San Jose improves to 35-5-4 when scoring first... Calgary's final six games consist of three sets of back-to-back games. Vancouver plays on back-to-back nights just once... Both teams have demonstrated the ability to break open close games in the third period. The Flames are 14-0-3 when tied after two periods while San Jose is 13-1-3 in the same scenario... San Jose LW Milan Michalek had his six-game points streak (three goals, four assists) come to an end... San Jose has killed off 17-of-18 on the penalty kill over the past seven games.