CALGARY - Led by Daymond Langkow, Calgary exacted revenge against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
Langkow scored twice as the red-hot Flames cruised past the Sharks 5-2. Since getting trounced 6-1 by the Sharks in San Jose back on Nov. 13, Calgary has been one of the NHL's hottest teams going 15-4-3.
"Obviously, they embarrassed us in their building and we didn't forget that and we came out and had a great start and won the game," said Langkow.
It was clear from the outset that the Flames were a different team than the one that the Sharks outshot 46-24 eight weeks ago at the Shark Tank.
"We came out with a lot of energy, we were skating well, making smart plays, taking the puck to the net, and getting bodies in front of (Sharks goalie Evgeni) Nabokov and it paid off for us," Langkow said.
Calgary led 2-0 early on goals by Curtis Glencross and Langkow and had a 15-0 edge on the shot clock before San Jose first tested Miikka Kiprusoff, a bad angle wrist shot from Mike Grier just over three minutes remaining.
After Mark Giordano's power-play goal at 18:33 extended the lead to 3-0 at the intermission, Langkow struck again 1:26 into the second, one-timing Rene Bourque's pass behind Nabokov.
Rookie Sharks coach Todd McLellan promptly replaced Nabokov with Brian Boucher at that point. It was the first time the all-star has been pulled from a game this season.
"We're all here together and I'll take full responsibility," said Nabokov. "I should have given them a chance to keep it close and it wasn't close."
Sharks forward Ryane Clowe was quick to absolve Nabokov from blame, as the Sharks were being outshot 18-5 at the time of the goalie change.
"There's no excuse, especially when we're trying to get our road game going, to come out asleep like that," said Clowe.
"Obviously, it was no surprise that they wanted to come out hard after that last game and they more or less turned the tables on us to what we did to them in San Jose."
David Moss had the other goal for Calgary (24-12-4), which improved to 8-1-3 in its last 12 games to open up a five-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks atop the Northwest Division.
Clowe and Mike Grier replied for San Jose (29-5-5).
The Sharks lost in regulation for the first time in its last seven games (4-1-2).
On a night in which Jarome Iginla was held off the scoreboard, it was the supporting cast that came through once again.
Langkow has goals in three straight games and points in his last six games (five goals, four assists).
"It feels good," said Langkow. "I maybe struggled a little bit earlier in the season but it's nice to contribute."
His linemate for much of this recent stretch, Todd Bertuzzi, says Langkow's well-rounded game often goes underappreciated.
"He's one of those guys that goes under the radar but we know how important he is in this room," said Bertuzzi. "He's always in the right position, he likes to move the puck, he likes to give it to me where I like to have it. We seem to have a little bit of chemistry that way."
The Flames opened the scoring on their 12th shot. Glencross finished a two-on-one rush when he fired a shot that squeezed through Nabokov's pads.
A defensive lapse cost the Sharks on the second goal. Langkow positioned himself directly behind defenceman Christian Ehrhoff at the top of the goal crease, and from there he steered in Bertuzzi's centring pass.
San Jose finally got on the scoreboard when Clowe slapped in a rebound at 5:30 of the second. The Sharks connected again when Patrick Marleau stole the puck from Adrian Aucoin and set up Grier's eighth goal of the season at 9:22 of the second.
San Jose continued to pressure in the third but Kiprusoff stood strong against his former team. His best save in a 11-shot third period came on a pad stop off Clowe, who was set up perfectly in front for a one-time by Joe Pavelski.
The Flames added some breathing room with Moss's goal at 10:06.
"There was really no effort out there. It's tough to see, tough to be part of," said Marleau.
The final shots ended up even at 28-28.
Notes: Iginla played in his 900th career game. .. San Jose entered the game second in the NHL in both most shots for (34.8) and fewest shots against (26.9). .. San Jose D Douglas Murray (lower body) returned to the line-up after missing two games. .. San Jose C Joe Thornton had his six-game scoring streak snapped (one goal, 10 assists)... San Jose D Rob Blake collected his 500th career assist.