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Sharks Ready For Home Ice In Game 7

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames were able to avoid elimination on Sunday night, shutting out the San Jose Sharks in Game Six of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series, 2-0, before a capacity crowd of 19,289 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The two teams will return to San Jose for Tuesday night’s decisive Game Seven at 7:00 PM (Pacific).

Much like the Sharks did in their 2-0 shutout victory in Game Two of the series, the Flames controlled nearly every facet of the game, evening the series at three games apiece.

“You have to give Calgary some credit and for some reason we were flat,” Head Coach Ron Wilson said in his postgame press conference. “We got beat in every possible category. Our faceoffs: you don’t have any offense if you don’t win your faceoffs in the offensive zone. We only had 14 hits. We never went to the difficult areas in front of their net to either get a rebound or make Kipper’s (Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff) life difficult.”

While Wilson acknowledged that his team was good at various points throughout the game, that was little consolation to the coach who needs his team to elevate their play in Game Seven.

“We didn’t have a sense of urgency that we need,” said Wilson. “We just didn’t get to pucks first and we let them dictate the pace of play. We had our moments in the second period and early in the third period. Kipper made some saves, but we didn’t have enough people hanging around the front of the net to pay the price to score. They’ve scored a lot of ugly goals in this series; we’ve got to find a way to manufacture a few for ourselves.”

Sharks winger Ryane Clowe agreed with the sentiments of his coach and noted that in addition to the Flames playing with a heightened state of urgency and desperation, San Jose failed to do the things that made them successful in their three victories this series.

“I thought we kind of shut ourselves down,” said Clowe, who was kept off the scoresheet for the first time this postseason. “We didn’t do things to create scoring chances. When we got power plays we moved the puck around pretty well and got some chances, but five-on-five in the playoffs, people need to do more to create chances and get to the net.”

The Sharks survived the opening push by the hometown team that was energized by a raucous crowd and despite being out shot and out chanced in the opening five minutes, they were able to settle down the frenzied pace.

Things would change shortly thereafter however as former Shark Owen Nolan opened the scoring with 8:27 to play in the opening frame. What looked to be a busted play turned sour for the Sharks when a well-defended pass by Kristian Huselius deflected off of Douglas Murray’s stick, off of Christian Ehrhoff’s skate and right onto the stick of Nolan who slammed the puck past Evgeni Nabokov for the 1-0 lead.

Early success seemed to fan the Flames as they emerged as the more desperate, more urgent team.

“Sometimes unfortunately that happens when you have a team that’s up against the wall,” said playoff veteran Mike Grier. “They came out and just played with that extra bit of intensity and desperation not to have their season ended. It was a mistake on our part tonight not to go out there and put the pressure right back on them and try and get a lead and force them into mistakes, but they played a pretty solid game tonight.”

Even after an opening period that saw the Flames control the game in nearly every key category, the Sharks entered the second only down a goal and with plenty of time to shift the momentum back in their favor.

After drawing consecutive penalties first on Huselius for tripping Patrick Rissmiller, then on Alex Tanguay for hooking Joe Thornton, the Sharks looked poised to strike on the power play as they had in the each of the previous four games. Clowe earned scoring chances on each of the power play opportunities in the second, but without traffic in front of the net , Kiprusoff was able to see every shot and kept the Sharks scoreless.

“We had some pretty good opportunities,” said Captain Patrick Marleau. “Our power play’s been working it around really nice, but we didn’t get the results. We have to try and get those results and bury our chances that we get.”

While the Sharks had every intention of ending the series in Calgary with a victory in Game Six, players and coaches alike have no problem playing a decisive Game Seven on home ice in San Jose.

Sharks rookie cetner Torrey Mitchell will be one of the many Sharks playing in his first Game Seven. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
“We wanted to finish them off (here in Calgary),” said Joe Thornton. “That was the plan, but they played well and it’s been a great series. You play hard for 82 games to get that home ice in the seventh game, so hopefully that will count for us. It’s going to be a lot of fun in Game Seven.”

For several players on the Sharks roster, Tuesday night’s game at HP Pavilion will be their first Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and they will certainly look to the veteran leadership that players like Curtis Brown and Grier can provide.

“I’ll certainly be here to answer any questions they might have,” said Grier. “It’s a fun situation. Most kids growing up always dream about being in a Game Seven and having a chance to make an impact and score a big goal or make a big play that helps your team advance. Should be a fun game and everyone should be looking forward to it. You don’t get them that often, so it’s a special game.”

For Joe Pavelski, this will be his first Game Seven, but the young center is no stranger to playing in big games. In 2006 as a member of the University of Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Ice Hockey Team, Pavelski claimed the NCAA National Championship and in the Frozen Four tournament, every game is Game Seven.

“I had a Game Five in juniors (best-of-five format) and in college it was win or you’re done, so I’m pretty excited,” said Pavelski. “The atmosphere is going to be great. We’ve got a team in here that’s gritty. We fought tonight, but we didn’t get the job done.”

Marleau was succinct in his analysis of Game Seven.

“Winner moves on and loser goes home,” said the Captain. “We have to come out with some desperation, a little intensity and be ready to play because our backs are up against the wall too.”

“Hopefully we can do (in Game Seven) what they did (in Game Six),” said Grier. “They fed off the crowd tonight at times when we started to bounce back and get a little momentum, They took the energy from the crowd and got it going again. I’m sure our building will be loud and our fans will be into it and hopefully we can take some of that energy from them.”

With three of the Western Conference’s four series already wrapped up, all eyes in the highly competitive conference will be on San Jose on Tuesday night.

The No. 1-seed Detroit Red Wings advanced past the No. 8-seed Nashville Predators in Sunday’s Game Six, but for now they will have to wait and see who they will be hosting.

The No. 5-seed Dallas Stars upset the No. 4-seed and defending Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks in Sunday’s Game Six, but will have to wait to see if they will host Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals or start the series on the road.

The No. 6-seed Colorado Avalanche upset the No. 3-seed Minnesota Wild in Saturday night’s Game Six and will now wait to see where they are headed.

While the logistics of the NHL’s reseeded playoff structure may seem complicated, the breakdown is fairly simple: if the No. 2-seed Sharks win on Tuesday night, they will host the Stars in the WCSF series and the Red Wings will host the Avalanche. If the Sharks are eliminated on Tuesday night, the Red Wings will host the No. 7-seed Flames and the Stars will host the Avalanche.

When asked about Jeremy Roenick’s absence from his Game Six lineup, Wilson’s replied:

“We’re at the point now where he needed a rest. We’ve been playing at a frenetic pace and I need J.R. fresh. And he’ll be in there. I talked with him about it (before the game). ‘Whether it’s Game One of the next series or Game Seven of this series, I want you fresh so you can contribute.’

“He has three shots on goal, no points and is a minus-2, so I have to find a way to get J.R. freshened up and tonight was the night. Patrick Rissmiller and Brownie went in and for whatever reason, it wasn’t their fault, we have to get better in all areas of our game.”

The decisive Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the Sharks and Flames will be on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM (Pacific) at HP Pavilion at San Jose. The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area in HD, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and

Tickets for Game Seven will go on sale to the general public on Monday, April 21 at 10:00 AM. Due to the limited number of tickets available, individuals will be allowed to purchase up to two tickets.

Tickets are available at the HP PAVILION TICKET OFFICE, online at TICKETMASTER.COM, ALL TICKETMASTER TICKET CENTERS (including select Macy’s, Ritmo Latino and f.y.e stores), and CHARGE BY PHONE at 408-998-TIXS and 415-421-TIXS.

The HP Pavilion Ticket Office will be utilizing the pre-numbered wristband system for all purchases. Wristbands will be handed out from 8:00 to 9:00 AM. The drawing to determine the numbered wristband which becomes “first” in line will take place at 9:30 AM.

The HP Pavilion Ticket Office’s pre-numbered wristband system is designed for determining a guest’s position in the ticket line. This system is implemented for all high-demand and advance ticket sales at HP Pavilion. The use of these wristbands provides an orderly and fair method to give all guests an equal opportunity to obtain seats.

Pricing for playoff tickets is as follows:

Prices For Round 1:
Glass - $185
Sideline Club - $136
End / Corner Club - $126
Premium Lower - $101
Lower Reserved - $88

Upper Rim - $93
Sideline Upper (Rows 2-12) - $62
Upper Goalie View (Rows 2-12) - $54
Sideline Upper (Rows 13+) - $44
Upper Goalie View (Rows 13+) - $31

For up to the minute information on tickets, Game Seven and the San Jose Sharks, Crash the Net at
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