Behind excellent netminding from Vesa Toskala, two goals from Milan Michalek and four points from Patirck Marleau, the Shark ran away from Calgary in a 5-1 victory that concluded their preseason.
Like they had through most of the preseason, the Sharks got out to a quick start drawing two Flames penalties in the first seven minutes. First it was Flames center Jarome Iginla who was sent off for high-sticking, then defenseman Andrei Zyuzin for holding.
But the Flames defense contained the trios of Patrick Marleau
, Milan Michalek and Steve Bernier and Joe Thornton
, Jonathan Cheechoo and Mark Bell on their power play opportunities, keeping the game scoreless.
As the period progressed the Flames earned power play opportunities of their own, drawing a penalties on Sharks defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Josh Gorges, giving them a five-on-three advantage.
Sharks defensman and roster spot hopeful Marc-Edouard Vlasic
, who had earned time on the earlier power plays, was sent out with defensive partner Scott Hannan and forward Mike Grier to kill the penalty for the Sharks.
Team Teal contained the Flames in the early stages of the five-on-three before Flames veteran forward Tony Amonte was whistled for interfering with Toskala just 27 seconds into the advantage.
As the teams returned to five-on-five, Marleau’s line was at it again, drawing first blood as Michalek took a feed from Marleau and scored a highlight reel goal, giving the Sharks the 1-0 lead with just over a minute remaining in the first.
Toskala pulled off a highlight level save with 13 minutes left in the second when he robbed Kristian Huselius dropping down from the high slot.
On the other end, McLennan has to come up big as well. Milan Michalek took a perfect pass up ice and was heading in along on the Calgary netminder. A late trip prevented the easy tally, but a penalty shot was called and the most on. Unfortunately for Sharks fans, McLennan stopped the backhand move the lead remained one.
Moments later Team Teal would strike and this time it was the Captain. A play from the point by Vlasic created a loose puck in front and Marleau banged it home for the 2-0 lead that San Jose would take into the second intermission.
Just one minute into the third, Iginla grabbed a lose puck right in front of Toskala, but the Finnish netminder covered the bottom net and turned away the shot.
Mark Bell scored his first goal of the preseason moments later and the floodgates opened for Team Teal. Then Michalek put in his second tally with a remarkable move. He snagged a pass that was behind him, pulled it toward his foreside and then beat Brent Kahn. With a five-on-three power play San Jose would strike again as Cheechoo set up Thornton.
The route was on as Calgary looked to respond with some unnecessary physical play. It was Bernier who displayed the physical power, blasting an uppercut that sent Brad Ference’s helmet flying to the ice.
The Flames however would break up the shutout as Zyuzin blasted a shot from the point that beat Toskala. Iginla cleanly won a faceoff in the Sharks zone, sending the puck to Zyuzin.
The physical play would continue all the way through to the final buzzer as Flames players took turns taking runs at Michalek who did not back down and had a pair of roughing minors to show for it along with his pair of goals.
Christian Ehrhoff left the game early and did not return due to an upper body injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
Bell, Goc, Marleau, Nieminen, Smith, Grier, Bernier, Parker, Rissmiller, Brown, Stevenson.
Murray, McLaren, Davison, Gorges, Ehrhoff, Hannan, Vlasic.
The Sharks will open the 2006-07 NHL Season this coming Thursday, October 5, 2006 at HP Pavilion. The start time is 7:30 p.m. and the game will be aired on FSN Bay Area and can be heard on 98.5 KFOX. Tickets can be purchesed at the HP Pavilion Box Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.