The Flames crowd was revved up and the Sharks were looking to take them out early, but no one could predicted what happened. Stephane Yelle’s slashing penalty 26 seconds in gave the Sharks an early power play and they quickly connected. While on the advantage, Joe Thornton
helped San Jose enter the zone and once the puck hit Ryane Clowe
in stride, he took care of business. He led a two-on-one, but commited to the shot the entire way and beat Miikka Kiprusoff glove side.
Calgary’s crowd looked to provide some momentum, but three minutes after their first goal, Team Teal struck again. This time Joe Pavelski
fired a puck from the left faceoff circle and Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
skated right in front of the net and tipped it by Kiprusoff.
Just 14 seconds after that, San Jose made it 3-0. As San Jose took possession right off the faceoff, Jonathan Cheechoo carried the puck behind the net. When he came out the other side, Douglas Murray
was pinching down and his one-timer was rocketed to the back of the net.
It marked the fasted three goals in Sharks playoff history and the fasted three goals to start a game in regular season or playoff history.
The three quick tallies forced Calgary Coach Mike Keenan to pull Kiprusoff.
Late in the first Calgary was looking for a way to get back in the game. They did with a vicious elbow to the head of Marleau. No penalty was called on the play that cut Marleau under the nose. When the Sharks came to Marleau’s rescue, they were given the penalty and Calgary was handed a power play. That proved fruitful when Jarome Iginla quickly converted for the Flames first goal, making it 3-1.
Calgary had momentum on their side and Daymond Langkow appeared to have an easy tap-in, but Evgeni Nabokov made a spectacular save by sliding across with his leg.
With 2:27 left in the first, former Shark Owen Nolan fed Adrian Aucoin out front, but the slap shot rang off the post and the first ended with San Jose up 3-1.
The scoring action was limited in the first half of the middle stanza, but when Kyle McLaren was given a questionable elbowing penalty, Calgary was able to strike. Iginla began the play and as he drove the net and with the puck was loose in front, Langkow pushed it home.
With 2:09 left in the first, a crosscheck by Matthew Lombardi to the back of Pavelski’s head put San Jose up a man just before the break. A point shot by Craig Rivet found Michalek out front, but the deflection went just inches wide from being a goal.
San Jose and Calgary went to the lockerroom with Team Teal up 3-2.
Just 1:18 into the third stanza, the Flames found the tying tally. A simple shot to the net bounced off Vlasic’s skate and then he accidently knocked it in with his stick.
San Jose would draw a Calgary penalty 3:55 into the third when the refs called a too-many-men penalty. The Sharks were strong setting up in the Flames zone and had a couple of chances, but Joseph managed a save on Clowe in close with 20 seconds left in the advantage. The power play was then effectively killed off.
With just under eight remaining in regulation, Nabokov was staring down a two-on-one rush, but with the shot open the entire way, Nabokov took away the angle and made a dangerous situation look easy.
With just under four minutes remaining, the Sharks failed to clear the puck from their zone and Nolan capitalized to give the Flames their first lead of the night. Nolan's goal came off a slap shot from the left circle at 3:45 to give Calgary the 4-3 advantage.
The Sharks were awarded a power play at 16:39 when Phaneuf was given a delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass. However, the Sharks failed to settle the puck in their offensive zone and couldn't amount a shot on goal over the two minute advantage.
With 1:04 remaining, Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson pulled Nabokov for the extra attacker, but San Jose was unable to tie the game as the Flames defeated the Sharks in a heartbreaker, 4-3.
Game 4 will take place at 7 p.m. PST on Tuesday and will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.