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San Jose Sharks vs. Calgary Flames series storylines @NHL

Lucky 7's: A #7 seed knocked off a #2 seed in each Stanley Cup playoff post-season from 1997 through 2006. The streak was snapped last year when #2 Eastern seed New Jersey defeated Tampa Bay 4-2 and #2 Western seed Anaheim beat Minnesota 4-1.  The Eastern Conference #7 has knocked off the #2 a total of six times in the last 10 years, while the Western Conference #7 has beaten the #2 five times in the past 10 years.

Leading by example: Former Art Ross trophy winners Jarome Iginla (2002) and Joe Thornton (2006) sit third and fifth in the League with 98 and 96 points, respectively -- Iginla finished third in 2007-08 with 50 goals while Thornton led the League with 67 assists.

Familiar Foe: Calgary and San Jose faced each other in the 2004 Western Conference Finals with Calgary, the number six seed, upsetting the second-ranked Sharks 4-2 en route to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since winning the Cup in 1989.

The lower seed prevails: In just their second year of post-season play, the San Jose Sharks, a number seven seed, defeated the Calgary Flames in game seven of the 1995 Conference Quarter-finals -- the Sharks were defeated 9-2 in Game 3 and blanked 5-0 in Game 5, but went on to eliminate the Flames in double overtime 5-4.

Staying even: San Jose G Evgeni Nabokov ranks first in the Western Conference with 46 wins in 77 games followed closely by Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff with 39 wins in 76 games played.  Both netminders sport a 1.07 goals for and against ratio when their teams are five-on-five.

NHL Playoff Appearance: 11th (fourth consecutive)
Last Playoff Series Win: 2007 (Conference Quarter-Final vs. Nashville)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 8-10
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 51-55


Oct. 5/07 -- In his second game with the club, C Jeremy Roenick scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, in a 3-1 victory at Vancouver. Roenick went on to lead the Sharks with 10 game-winning tallies, his most in a single season since 1999-2000 with Phoenix (12).

Nov. 12/07 -- G Evgeni Nabokov made his 25th consecutive start, setting a franchise record. He went on to make 43 consecutive starts to start the season, the second-longest streak in the League since 1989-90. New Jersey's Martin Brodeur made 44 starts from Jan. 3, 1996 to Apr. 13, 1996. Nabokov posted a 25-12-6 record with a 1.99 goals against average, .918 save percentage and five shutouts in that span.

Feb. 26/08 -- The Sharks acquired D Brian Campbell and a 7th-round pick in 2008 from Buffalo for RW Steve Bernier and a 1st-round draft pick in 2008.

Mar. 3/08 -- Less than one week after joining the Sharks at the trade deadline and making his home debut in a San Jose uniform, D Brian Campbell's spectacular spin-o-rama goal against Montreal in a 6-4 victory electrified the sold-out Shark Tank crowd. The goal was one of the most-watched goals by online viewers this season.

Mar. 14/08 -- The Sharks set a franchise record by extending their winning streak to 11 games with a 4-1 victory over St. Louis. It also marked the longest single-season streak in the NHL since New Jersey won 11 consecutive games from March 28-April 18, 2006. The Sharks' streak ended the following game, a 2-1 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers Mar. 16.

18-0-2: The Sharks posted a franchise record by recording at least one point in 20 consecutive games (18-0-2) from Feb. 21 at Philadelphia through Apr. 1 against Los Angeles. Among the highlights was a franchise-record 11-game win streak (Feb. 21 - Mar. 14), the longest by an NHL club this season. The Sharks made up an 11-point deficit to the Dallas Stars in the Pacific Division from Feb. 29 until taking first place on Mar. 11. The Sharks went on to clinch the division with their win at Anaheim on Mar. 28.


Record March: The Sharks recorded the best points percentage by an NHL club during the month of March in NHL history. San Jose went 13-0-2, earning 28 of a possible 30 points (.933) to top the 1950-51 Detroit Red Wings (10-1-0, .909) and 1926-27 Montreal Canadiens (9-1-0, .900).

Road Warriors: The Sharks became the first club in NHL history to record multiple road winning streaks of nine games or longer in a single season. They won 10 consecutive road contests from Nov. 14 at Dallas through Dec. 31 at Minnesota, followed by their nine-game streak from Feb. 21 at Philadelphia through Mar. 18 at Los Angeles. The Sharks finished the season with a League-best 27-10-4 road mark.

Big Joe enjoys another big season: C Joe Thornton led the Sharks in scoring with 96 points (29 goals, 67 assists) in 82 games. He finished fifth in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as League scoring leader and led the NHL in assists for the third consecutive season. He earned points on 44.4% of his team's goals (96 of 216), tops in the Western Conference and second in the NHL to Washington's Alex Ovechkin (47.1%, 112 of 238). The Sharks have posted a 136-64-22 regular-season mark since acquiring Thornton from Boston in a Nov. 30, 2005 trade. Thornton has 302 points (71 goals, 231 assists) in those 222 games.

Making strides with Campbell: The Sharks went 16-2-2 in their final 20 games of the season after the club acquired D Brian Campbell from Buffalo at the trade deadline. Campbell posted 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) and a +9 rating in those games.

Nabokov a fixture in goal: In his first season as the club's consensus number one goaltender following the off-season departure of Vesa Toskala to Toronto, G Evgeni Nabokov responded with his finest NHL campaign in 2007-08. Nabokov posted a 43-game consecutive-start streak to begin the 2007-08 season, one short of the longest such streak since 1989-90 (Martin Brodeur, 44). He led the NHL in victories (46), just two shy of Brodeur's NHL-record 48 set last season, and posted a League-high 25 one-goal victories. He ranked second among NHL goaltenders in minutes played (4,561), third in goals-against average (2.14) and tied for third in shutouts (six).

Wilson is playoff-tested: The Sharks' Ron Wilson ranks fourth among 2008 Stanley Cup Playoff head coaches in postseason games behind the bench with 82 (41-41). The only 2008 playoff coaches with more are Calgary's Mike Keenan (160, 91-69), Ottawa's Bryan Murray (108, 52-56) and Minnesota's Jacques Lemaire(106, 58-48).


NHL Playoff Appearance: 25th (4th consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 1 (1989)
Last Playoff Series Win: 2004 (Conference Final vs. San Jose)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 15-23
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 89-106


Oct. 29/07 -- G Miikka Kiprusoff signed to a six-year contract.

Dec. 9-18/07 --
The Flames embarked on a six-game road trip tied for 12th in the Western Conference standings.  After becoming just the third team in League history to go 6-0 on a road trip (1971-72 Boston Bruins, 1982-83 Philadelphia Flyers), the Flames found themselves tied for 6th in the West by Dec. 19.

Feb. 6/08 -- D Dion Phaneuf signed to a six-year contract. Coach Keenan on the signing: "He's got the leadership skills and he's got the passion for improvement.  He wants to take charge. He wants to be the best. He has the confidence and the ability to improve his game dramatically and he'll put the time and effort in to try and accomplish that goal."

Feb. 8/08 -- With the Flames on a bit of a low coming out of the All-Star break (2-3-0), GM Darryl Sutter addressed the team at practice.  D Anders Eriksson on the meeting: "I think it shows the GM really cares. He obviously wants to win as much as we do. We've got Stanley Cup on our mind. The way we've been playing lately, we're slipping away from the way we can.  Sometimes, you need a little kick in the butt. Wake up. We want to win and we've got to get back on the right track. You know that he cares, but it really proves a point when he comes down."


Milestone year for Iginla:  RW Jarome Iginla, with his 50th goal of the season in the Flames' final regular-season game (vs. Vancouver), has scored 50-or-more goals for the second time in his career (52 in 2001-02).  He enjoyed the best first half of the season of his career this season with 29 goals in his first 41 games and became the Flames all-time goal-scoring leader with his 365th on Mar. 10 vs. St. Louis and the club's all-time leader in games played when he appeared in his 804th career game on Nov. 29/07 vs. Anaheim.

More Iginla:  Iginla on the Flames' battle to qualify for the playoffs before their final game vs. Vancouver:  "We were fully prepared to play a Game 7 here for everything. We don’t have to now. But the last 10 games have all felt like Game 7s. The tension. The nervousness. The excitement. Honestly, it really feels like we’ve already been through a playoff series."

Keenan's playoff experience:  Flames' coach Mike Keenan enters the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs with a career record of 91-69 (.569).  His 91 playoff victories position him 5th on the all-time list, behind Scotty Bowman (223), Al Arbour (123), Dick Irvin (100) and Pat Quinn (94).  Among the coaches participating in the 2008 playoffs, only Keenan ('94 NY Rangers), Anaheim's Randy Carlyle (2007) and Minnesota's Jacques Lemaire ('95 New Jersey Devils) have guided teams to Stanley Cup titles.

It's been a while:  It will be 4,346 days between stepping behind the bench for a Stanley Cup playoff game for Flames' coach Mike Keenan.  Keenan's last coaching appearance was on May 16, 1996 when his St. Louis Blues lost 1-0 in double overtime to the Red Wings in Game #7 of their Western Conference semi-final series.  Detroit's Steve Yzerman scored on a 60-foot slap shot against Jon Casey to eliminate the Blues.  Current head coaches Wayne Gretzky of Phoenix and Craig MacTavish of Edmonton along with Dallas co-GM Brett Hull and Ducks' defenseman Chris Pronger all played for Keenan on that team.

Sutter-Keenan playoff reunion:  Flames' GM Darryl Sutter  was associate coach to Keenan in 1990-91 and 1991-92 with Chicago and they went to the Stanley Cup Final in their second season together.  Keenan, after being hired by the Flames, on what it takes to win a Stanley Cup: "To win a Stanley Cup is not an easy task. It's a very difficult task that demands abnormal behaviour in terms of excellence. Your dedication and sacrifices are going to have to be more than normal which isn't easy for people to grasp."

Nolan hits milestone:  Flames Masterton trophy nominee RW Owen Nolan appeared in his 1000th regular-season NHL game against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 22/07 vs. San Jose:  "I'm still trying to win that Cup," he told Calgary reporters at the time.  "I know I don't have many years left and coming to Calgary, I felt they had a great opportunity. And to get to 1,000 games . . . it would be special to get both in the same year.  It's taken a long time to get here -- many injuries and many surgeries later, but I'm excited about it."

Phaneuf loves the work & goals:  Since playing 31 minutes and 20 seconds in the season opener against the Flyers, D Dion Phaneuf has been among the League leaders in average minutes played per-game.  He finished the season with the fifth-highest average (26:25 per-game) in the League (Florida's Jay Bouwmeester led at 27:28 per-game). Only Bouwmeester (2,252 minutes, 28 seconds) played more minutes this season than Phaneuf (2,166:35).  As well,  he has scored 54 goals (17 this season) in his three seasons in the NHL, the most over the last three seasons by any defenseman. 


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