On the last Hockey Night In Canada telecast before the Holiday Break, the San Jose Sharks doused the Calgary Flames 4-1 in commanding fashion Saturday night before a capacity crowd at HP Pavilion at San Jose.
for video highlights from Saturday’s game.
Entering the contest, San Jose looked to skate into the Christmas break with a victory against the Calgary Flames. Evgeni Nabokov faced off with former backup Miikka Kiprusoff in the nets.
Patrick Marleau, nearly deflected in a Steve Bernier pass just 30 seconds in, but Kiprusoff touched just enough of the vulcanized rubber.
Calgary blueliner Dion Phaneuf looked to catch Marcel Goc with a big hit, but the swift German steadied himself and both players crashed to the ice.
Nabokov displayed his flexibility when he sprawled out to stop a rebound effort with three minutes left in the opening stanza. Then moments later, the Sharks drew a power play, but it was the Flames who would capitalize. Matthew Lombardi snuck behind the Sharks defenders and was all the way to the offensive blueline before anyone but Nabokov noticed him. Lombardi skated in all alone and beat Nabokov to the five-hole.
San Jose could not score on the rest of the power play and the Flames would take the 1-0 lead to the lockerroom. As the period neared its conclusion Joe Thornton and Phaneuf were both sent to the box for roughing, but Kristian Huselius was given a hooking penalty and San Jose would have 1:27 of power play time to start the second.
The second period opened with a ferocious pace. While the Flames managed to kill the remaining 1:27 of the Sharks power play, the two teams opened up the game offensively.
Each team took their turn going up and down the ice, but both teams failed to convert on the scoring opportunities. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Jonathan Cheechoo and Joe Pavelski all had golden chances, but all three of them shot the puck over the net.
With 13:08 remaining in the second period, the game took a noticeable bounce in favor of the Sharks. Nabokov made a stellar glove save on a two-on-one opportunity for the Flames, catching enough of the puck to careen it off the goal post to his left.
The Sharks then stormed back into the game as Marcel Goc and Curtis Brown took the puck down the ice. Goc swooped into the Calgary zone to Kiprusoff’s right and beat the goaltender high on the blocker side, tying the game at 1-1.
The Sharks then took the lead on a power play goal by Milan Michalek, half way through the second period. Thornton drew a penalty behind the Flames net and Michalek converted on the subsequent power play giving the Sharks the 2-1 lead.
Team Teal, with the momentum clearly on their side, nearly took a 3-1 lead when Mark Smith fired a slap shot that squirted past Kiprusoff, but the Finnish netminder recovered in time to keep it a 2-1 game with eight minutes remaining in the second.
San Jose would take the 2-1 advantage into the final 20 minutes of play.
Just three and a half minutes into the third, the Sharks padded their lead. A turnover picked up by Curtis Brown at the blueline led to a long blast by the Sharks center. Kiprusoff reached out to control the rebound, but his pass to Andrew Ference was intercepted by a charging Mark Smith and the he easily dropped it into the empty net behind the Flames netminder.
As the period hit its midway point Milan Michalek found himself striding through the slot toward Kiprusoff. The talented Czech winger attempted to go upstairs with his backhand, but could Kiprusoff made a stellar glove save to keep his club in the game.
A Tony Amonte cross check on Matt Carle with six minutes remaining dampened the Flames rally potential. Then as it appears the Flames would kill of the penalty and have a fighting chance, Jarome Iginla was whistled for delay of game and the guests would play shorthanded another two minutes. San Jose would not increase the advantage, but the four minutes down a man definitely limited Calgary’s scoring opportunities.
With 1:57 left, Nabokov once again got some help from his best friend the goal post. The shot by the Calgary forward hit the far post to Nabokov's left and rolled on end all the way back to the near side post before the Sharks netminder froze the puck preserving the 3-1 lead.
To cap off the victory in style, Scott Hannan scored with 41.5 seconds remaining on the empty net. For Hannan, it was his first goal of the season and for the fans it was "Four In the Net, Pizza You Get" as the Sharks went on to win 4-1.
Jeff Friesen and Andrei Zyuzin and Jeff Friesen are both part of the Flames club, but both were scratched for the contest.
The Sharks will return to the ice Tuesday with another battle against the Ducks at HP Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Box Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will air on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.