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Flames force Game 7

by Brian Compton

With a 2-0 blanking of the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames staved off elimination and ensured themselves the chance to clinch the series in a decisive seventh game.
WATCH Highlights from the Flames vital 2-0 win
Hey, San Jose … Get ready to host your first Game 7.
With a chance to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Sharks came up empty on Sunday night, as they went 0-for-21 against Miikka Kiprusoff in a 2-0 loss to the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The teams will meet in a decisive game on Tuesday night, which will be the first Game 7 to ever take place at HP Pavilion. The Sharks have played a seventh game five times in franchise history, but each of those contests was held on the road.
After Game 6 losses in the first round to Anaheim and Detroit the past two years respectively, the Flames were poised to extend their season.
"Everyone was really committed and determined tonight," Calgary captain Jarome Iginla said. "We believed we were going to find a way to win that game and force a Game 7.
"This will be our second (elimination game). We're going to need the same type of effort and be more determined. They're going to be desperate like we were tonight and both teams are facing it now.

Owen Nolan and Daymond Langkow scored for the Flames, while Kiprusoff made 21 saves for his sixth career postseason shutout. Nine of those stops came in the second period as Kiprusoff helped his club preserve a one-goal lead.

"I think this is a pretty confident team here," Kiprusoff said.

Nolan gave the Flames a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the series at 11:33 of the first period. After Evgeni Nabokov made an initial save on a backhand shot by Kristian Huselius, Nolan was on the doorstep and slammed home the rebound to bring the capacity crowd of 19,289 to its feet.

Langkow put Calgary up by a pair when he notched his third goal of the postseason with 57 seconds remaining in the second period. With the teams at even strength, Langkow collected a loose puck just inside the Sharks’ zone and fired a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot past Nabokov as the Flames took a 2-0 lead.

Kiprusoff took it from there. Despite being pulled earlier in the series, the Flames’ netminder kept his focus and was solid again on Sunday evening. His pad save on Ryane Clowe from close range late in the second came after a dazzling glove stop on Thornton's chance through traffic during a Sharks’ power play earlier in the period.

"Kipper made some saves, but we didn't have enough people hanging around the front of the net paying the price to score," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "They've scored a lot of ugly goals in this series. We have to find a way to manufacture a few ourselves."
If not, the Sharks could follow the Anaheim Ducks as first-round failures. About an hour after San Jose failed to close the deal with Calgary, the defending Stanley Cup champions were ousted by the Dallas Stars.

"They were a team that was picked to be a Stanley Cup contender at the start of the season and they had one of the best second halves of any team in the League," Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr said of the Sharks. "They were picked by the majority of the so-called experts to win this series, but the important thing is we have a chance to get it to a one-game showdown here and it's up to us. We have an opportunity to win this series."

San Jose coasted following the acquisition of All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell, as they lost just two games in regulation following the trade on Feb. 26 and nearly caught the Detroit Red Wings for the best record in the NHL. If anything, their hard work down the stretch gave them the right to host this seventh game on Tuesday night.

"We played hard for 82 games to get home ice (advantage) in that seventh game, so hopefully it will count for us," Sharks center Joe Thornton said.

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.

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