SAN JOSE, Calif. --
The San Jose Sharks dropped Game 1 of their opening round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night, 3-2, despite two goals from Ryane Clowe
Between the pipes were two of the NHL’s most played netminders in Evgeni Nabokov and Miikka Kiprusoff. San Jose was without the services of Christian Ehrhoff on the blueline and Alexei Semenov jumped into his spot.
Just 2:47 in, Calgary jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Taking a faceoff win in their offensive zone, a point shot was fired by Robyn Regehr and Stephane Yelle was parked to the side and tipped it in.
San Jose faced a shorthanded situation just five minutes in when the referee thought Kyle McLaren highsticked a Flames forward. It took only 15 seconds for Jarome Iginla to find Dion Phaneuf across the crease and San Jose was down 2-0.
Team Teal was not about to sit back and sulk about the early deficit and quickly responded. One minute later, Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
used his speed to draw his defender toward him and Kiprusoff out of the crease.
When Marleau came out the backside of the net, he fed a wide open Ryane Clowe
and the Newfoundlander banged the puck home, closing the gap to one.
San Jose was awarded their first power play when Clowe was hauled down chasing a loose puck near the midway point of the first, but they could not pull even.
At the 7:35 mark, Kiprusoff could not handle a shot and a scrum ensued for the loose puck with Clowe, Marleau and Pavelski looking for the chip in, but Calgary found the puck first.
Both clubs settled down defensively later in the first period and the stanza finished with Calgary up 2-1, thanks in part of a huge poke check by Nabokov with 30 seconds left.
Four and a half minutes into the second, Calgary had a prime scoring chance when Calgary jumped on a loose puck in the offensive zone, but Nabokov was able to challenge David Moss, forcing the puck to ring off the post.
San Jose was outshooting the Flames six to one in the first 10 minutes of the second, but had not found the tying goal.
|Calgary Flames left wing Alex Tanguay (40) is unable to score past San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov (20), of Kazakhstan, in the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Western Conference playoff series, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) |
With 6:27 left in the second, Phaneuf lined up Clowe for an open ice hit, but instead of the usual happening for the Calgary blueliner, Clowe completely absorbed the blow. Clowe was given a subsequent minor for interference, but Team Teal killed the penalty.
As the clock wound down under four minutes, Calgary stretched their lead to two. Jarome Iginla stripped the puck from an on rushing Shark and skated down just ahead of Brian Campbell. Iginla was able to turn the corner get a shot on Nabokov. The Sharks Vezina candidate did his job and stopped the initial effort, but Yelle was there to knock in the rebound. The play went upstairs for video review, but the ruling stood that the puck went in before the net went off its moorings.
The second period would conclude with Calgary up 3-1.
Just 30 seconds into the third, it looked like San Jose would close the gap when Joe Thornton
jumped on a loose puck and skated in on a breakaway. He beat Kiprusoff, but the shot rang off the left post.
San Jose continued to attack offensively and with 16:42 left in regulation, Jim Vandermeer
was forced into a holding penalty and the Sharks took to the power play. Once again they controlled the zone, but could not find the tally while up a man. As the clock wound down to the 12:20 count, San Jose had registered 30 shots, but only the one goal.
The Sharks rally hopes were dimmed a bit when Kyle McLaren was given a questionable crosschecking penalty on Iginla with 8:37 remaining.
As the clock wound down, San Jose pulled Nabokov for the extra attacker with 1:22 left. They quickly found success as Thornton set up Clowe in the slot. Clowe’s first shot was rebuffed, but Clowe quickly pumped in the rebound to make it a one-goal game.
The Sharks will not have to wait long for redemption. The two teams will square off again tomorrow night for Game 2. LINES
Nabokov-Boucher NEXT GAME
The Sharks will host the Flames on Thursday night at 7 p.m. with the game on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.