The San Jose Sharks rebounded from their tough Game 3 loss on Sunday night with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Calgary Flames, 3-2, in Game 4 on Tuesday night. With the victory, the Sharks evened the series at 2-2 and regained home ice advatage.
San Jose and Calgary played the second of two straight in Alberta and Ron Wilson made some adjustments to his lineup for Game 4.
Christian Ehrhoff was deemed healthy enough to return to action and Devin Setoguchi would get his first career taste of playoff hockey. Patrick Rissmiller and Curtis Brown were the odd men out as Wilson dressed seven defensemen.
Wilson started Jody Shelley and Ryane Clowe
on Joe Thornton
’s wings and even before the game began, a linesman had to step in and stop a shoving match between Shelley and former Shark Owen Nolan.
Calgary would strike first in Game 4 when Jarome Iginla found the back of the net. San Jose could not clear the defensive zone and when Iginla came up with the puck in close, he ripped a perfectly placed a wrister out of Evgeni Nabokov’s reach.
Each club had a power play during the first that they could not connect on, but there were no other tallies besides Iginla’s as the two clubs combined for just eight first period shots. San Jose registered six and the Flames posted two as the hosts led 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Setoguchi had two strong shifts early in the second that resulted in shots, including one play that he went inside out on Dion Phaneuf, but the first goal could not be found.
With 9:04 left in the second, San Jose took advantage of a power play situation after Brian Campbell was hooked. As the advantage was entering its final phase, Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
sniped one on net. Ryane Clowe
, who was Johnny-on-the-spot during the first three games, was in front of Miikka Kiprusoff and deflected it in, tying the game at one.
San Jose then killed off a Christian Ehrhoff penalty to keep the game even.
The Sharks seemed to be gaining some confidence and were getting stronger offensive zone shifts, but with 1:31 left in the second, the Flames regained the lead. A host of players were blocking Nabokov’s vision and a Phaneuf shot from the blueline found its way upstairs.
Calgary would take the 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Nabokov shut down a dangerous three-on-one rush by Calgary to keep San Jose in striking distance. The Flames initial effort never found its way to the net, but when they regained position, Daymond Langkow was alone at the side of the net with the puck. Nabokov slid over just in time to get a shoulder on it, forcing the puck to hit the cross bar and bounce to a safe area.
The Sharks survived a following delay-of-game penalty to Craig Rivet, during which Nabokov came up big again.
When it was Team Teal’s opportunity for a man-advantage, they controlled the zone for a bulk of the time, but could not finish. A Campbell pass found Marleau open at the side, but the puck wouldn’t settle down and the prime scoring chance was negated.
As the clock hit the midway point of the third period, Torrey Mitchell
was called for highsticking. The Sharks did an excellent job of killing the power play off and Marleau created a partial breakaway that he just missed converting.
With 4:54 remaining in the third, San Jose received a huge boost from Jonathan Cheechoo when the former Rocket Richard-winner netted his first goal of the playoffs on a laser that beat Kiprusoff to tie the game at 2-2. Joe Pavelski
and Setoguchi earned the assists on the play for their work on the sideboards and behind the net.
Cheechoo's goal gave San Jose new life as the Sharks dominated play from that point on. After three consecutive shifts of controlling the puck in the Flames end San Jose stunned the Calgary faithful and jumped right back into the series.
With 9.4 seconds remaining, Joe Thornton
silenced the Pengrowth Saddledome crowd with a perfect deflection to Kiprusoff's left, giving San Jose the 3-2 lead. Clowe fed the puck to Douglas Murray
who put the shot towards the Calgary cage.
Marleau just missed deflecting the puck in the high slot on the play, but Thornton connected to tie the series at 2-2 and regain home ice for the Sharks.
Game 5 will be Thursday at 7 p.m. at HP Pavilion and the game will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.