CALGARY, Alberta --
The Calgary Flames capitalized on some gracious bounces and thrived off their home ice crowd to stave off elimination with a 2-0 shutout victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome. With the victory, the Flames forced a decisive Game Seven set for Tuesday night in San Jose.
An early-arriving crowd flooded the “C of Red” as the hometown fans hoped to energize their Flames to victory. In front of an electric capacity crowd, the Flames came out flying, controlling the play in the game’s opening minutes.
Less than two minutes in, Calgary held the lead in scoring chances and shots due in part to a pair of defensive zone turnovers. A point-blank chance by Flames forward Alex Tanguay nearly snuck past Evgeni Nabokov, but the Sharks netminder was sharp.
San Jose withstood the early Calgary push and earned a key scoring chance of their own with 16:45 to play in the first. Hard work by Devin Setoguchi behind the Calgary net nearly led to a Sharks goal when Joe Pavelski
jumped on the Setoguchi feed and put a shot on net from the slot, but Miikka Kiprusoff made the save.
A tough-luck turnover at the midpoint of the period led to a three-on-one for Calgary, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic
made a key play to step into a passing lane and single-handedly diffused the Flames chance.
The Flames, however, would not be denied and broke through at 11:33 of the first. Owen Nolan found a puck at the edge of the Sharks crease after it deflected off Douglas Murray
’s stick and Christian Ehrhoff’s skate and beat Evgeni Nabokov for the first goal of the game. Kristian Huselius and Robyn Regehr earned assists on the busted play, giving the Flames the 1-0 lead.
Calgary had a chance to extend their lead with 3:23 to play in the opening period when Patrick Rissmiller was whistled for hooking Eric Nystrom. The Flames threatened, but Nabokov stood tall and closed out the opening frame. Calgary took the 1-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes of play.
The Sharks opened the second period with some good energy and were rewarded for their play. Drawing back-to-back power plays, first on Huselius for tripping Rissmiller at 2:38, then on Tanguay for hooking Joe Thornton
at 12:05, the Sharks nearly netted the equalizer, but a pair of scoring chances by Ryane Clowe
would be turned aside by Kiprusoff.
A three-on-one led by Milan Michalek looked promising, but Michalek was unable to find Torrey Mitchell
or Mike Grier with a pass and the chance went without a shot on Kiprusoff, who challenged Michalek’s shot the whole way.
|Sharks right wing Mike Grier and Flames forward Stephane Yelle get tangled up on Sunday, April 20, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press) |
Late in the second, an innocent looking play in front of the Calgary bench became disastrous when Daymond Langkow found the puck and some space down the left wing in the Sharks zone. Ehrhoff was back to defend and seemingly took away the shooting lane, but a nice shot by Langkow snuck inside the near post and the Flames forward extended Calgary’s lead to 2-0 with 56.2 seconds to play in the second frame.
Though the Sharks matched the Flames shot for shot in the second, and even out-chanced the home team, they headed into the locker room in a 2-0 hole after 40 minutes of play.
San Jose drew their third consecutive power play just 2:03 into the third when David Moss was called for hooking Rissmiller on the hands, taking a shot away from the San Jose forward.
The Sharks found the net with a pair of shots on the power play, but were unable to solve Kiprusoff on the man advantage.
Team Teal looked poised to go on their fourth straight power play when Matt Carle took a blatant cross-check to the mouth with 11:30 remaining in the third, but the play went uncalled by both referees. The fortune would swing in Calgary’s favor when less than two minutes later, the Flames were sent on their second power play of the game on an Ehrhoff tripping call against Wayne Primeau.
San Jose survived a barrage of Flames shots while on the advantage (Calgary’s first shots of the period) and kept it a two-goal deficit.
The Sharks pulled Nabokov for an extra attacker in the late stages of the third, but were unable to find any last minute heroics as the Flames held on for the 2-0 victory, forcing the first Game Seven in HP Pavilion's 16-year history.LINEUP
Curtis Brown and Patrick Rissmiller made their return to the lineup, dressing in place of Jeremy Roenick (healthy) and Kyle McLaren (day-to-day, groin).
Marleau – Thornton – Clowe
Cheechoo – Pavelski – Setoguchi
Michalek – Mitchell – Grier
Shelley – Brown – Rissmiller
Murray – Campbell
Ehrhoff – Vlasic
Carle – Rivet
Nabokov – Boucher
The Sharks and Flames will return to San Jose for Tuesday night's decisive Game Seven at HP Pavilion at San Jose. The game is set for 7:00 PM (Pacific) and will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area in HD, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.