SAN JOSE, Calif. --
The San Jose Sharks advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by defeating the Calgary Flames, 5-3, in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Jeremy Roenick capped off the game's heroics with two goals and two assists in the first Game 7 ever hosted at HP Pavilion.
To start the contest, San Jose Head Coach Ron Wilson adjusted his roster for the biggest game of the season by inserting Roenick and Marcel Goc onto the lineup card.
Evgeni Nabokov and Miikka Kiprusoff were charged with protecting the nets for the season ending affair for one club.
The atmosphere inside HP Pavilion was electric and it stayed that way through the first ten minutes.
When the Sharks took to the game’s first power play, they responded with the game’s first goal at the 9:03 mark. In a reversal of roles, Jonathan Cheechoo took the puck along the goal line and drew a defender. He sent the puck through the slot and found a wide open Joe Thornton
. Not only was Thornton open, but so was the near side of the net as Kiprusoff was guarding against a Cheechoo shot. The Flames netminder attempted to slide over, but could not in time as the Sharks top playmaker roofed the puck.
Calgary would quickly respond. When Milan Michalek was sent to the penalty box, a point shot just 15 seconds into the advantage was tipped by Jarome Iginla and the game was even again.
With 7:14 to go in the first, a minor scrum occurred at center ice and the end result was four-on-four time thanks to matching minors against Ryane Clowe
and Owen Nolan. No tallies resulted in the open ice.
As the first period clock neared the three minute mark, Team Teal put on an extended shift in the Calgary zone. When the Flames failed to clear the puck, Dion Phaneuf took a penalty against Cheechoo and the Sharks drew a late power play. As the advantage expired, the Sharks were swarming a loose puck that Kiprusoff could not grab, but Calgary was able to clear it.
San Jose outshot the Flames 14-5 in the opening 20 minutes, but the game was tied at one.
Just 3:33 into the second period, Calgary found their first lead of the game. A bad defensive pinch allowed Owen Nolan a long breakaway on Nabokov. The Vezina candidate made the initial stop, but the rebound hit Nolan’s leg and went in the net.
San Jose immediately responded and, less than three minutes later, the game was tied at two. This time Roenick was circling near the blueline and spotted Devin Setoguchi parked in front of Kiprusoff. The wrister from the Sharks oldest player was invisible to Kiprusoff due to Setoguchi and the shot snuck across the line.
|Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and defenseman Brian Campbell celebrate after San Jose's 5-3 victory in Game 7 on Tuesday, April 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) |
The energy from the play had the crowd and the players fired up and on the ensuing possession, a driving Cheechoo drew another power play when Calgary attempted to stop him from poking one home in front.
San Jose would not let the opportunity go to waste and it was the veteran Roenick who again responded. Controlling the puck near the blueline, Roenick saw the traffic being created out front by Patrick Marleau
and Thornton. Roenick’s shot was stopped, but he was the first to locate the rebound and he put it in upstairs from a tough angle to give Team Teal a 3-2 advantage.
It looked as if Calgary had staved off San Jose’s momentum when they killed off another Sharks power play, but as even-strength play returned, San Jose struck again. This time is was a great play by Mike Grier that allowed Joe Pavelski
a shot in close and he went up high for the two goal lead.
Mike Keenan tried using the same magic that worked in Game 3 of the series and pulled Kiprusoff for Curtis Joseph, but it would not alter the Sharks mojo.
A moment later, Setoguchi used a little help from Roenick to nab his first Stanley Cup Playoff. Keeping his feet moving on the play, Setoguchi found himself near the left hashmarks and sent one inside the near post.
San Jose would take the impressive 5-2 lead into the second intermission had amassed a 35-13 advantage in shots. The four second-period goals marked the most for San Jose in one playoff period.
Calgary managed to pull within two five minutes into the third when a quirky play from behind the net bounced off the chest of Wayne Primeau and into the net.
As the regulation clock reached the nine minute mark, the Flames had a two-minute power play. Calgary did set up a couple of times, but San Jose washed away any real threats and the crowd was roaring their approval.
The Flames pulled Joseph with more than two minutes left for the extra attacker, but it would not make a difference as the Sharks advanced to the second round to face the Dallas Stars. LINES