In their first meeting since the 2003-04 Western Conference Finals, the San Jose Sharks played host to the Calgary Flames Saturday night at HP Pavilion. The Sharks, coming off of two straight games where they came from behind late, sent Nolan Schaefer to the net in an attempt to extend their current win streak to three and they did exactly that with a 3-2 victory that saw the first shootout at HP Pavilion.
The first major action of the night was a crushing blow by Kyle McLaren on Roman Hamrlik in the Calgary zone.The big Czech slowly rose up on his skates, grabbed his stick and headed to the bench.Then on his next shift, Hamrlik was called for hooking and the Sharks were on the power play.
Tom Preissing beautifully set up Milan Michalek in front of the crease for the Sharks best opportunity of the young contest, but Miikka Kiprusoff came up with the stop.An odd bounce early in the Sharks man advantage gave Byron Ritchie time alone in the slot, but Schaefer turned away the chance.
Calgary would take the lead five minutes in when Marcus Nilson's shot rebounded to a charging Steve Montador who was uncovered and beat Schaefer upstairs.
Midway through the first, San Jose was bitten by the penalty bug as first, Nils Ekman was sent to the box.Then with one minute left on the power play, Tony Amonte was awarded a penalty shot after being interfered with by Wayne Primeau.The Sharks hot rookie netminder was cool as a cucumber against the skilled veteran as he came out to take away the angle and swallowed up the five-hole shot.
The crowd roared their approval, however, the result should not have been a surprise as Schaefer is the AHL record holder for winner in the longest shootout in league history.On December 3 of last year, he stopped 14 of 16 Utah shooters to finish off a 3-2 victory. The rookie also stoned Todd Bertuzzi, Marcus Naslund and Richard Park in the shootout in a preseason victory at Vancouver.
Calgary and San Jose exchanged one minute power plays late in the first, but neither could generate significant opportunities and the first period ended with Calgary on top 1-0.Despite the openness of the new NHL, the first period produced just 14 shots between the two clubs.
In the second period, the defenses were just as stifling through the first ten minutes as just six shots were allowed.Calgary would get the first big break as Ekman was whistled for highsticking and given four minutes.
As San Jose killed off the first minor, a hard checking Patrick Marleau sent Montador to the ice with a big hit along the boards in the offensive zone.With one minute gone in the second minor, the Sharks scrambled to clear a loose puck in front of Schaefer and the crowd roared their approvalas the chant of "Let's go Sharks" rang throughout the building and the double minor was over.
Unfortunately, just as the penalty expired, Rob Davison was called for delay of game when his clearing attempt entered the stands.Team Teal again killed off the disadvantage, shutting down the Calgary power play for six consecutive minutes.
San Jose had 41 shots themselves in Dallas the other night, after two periods with Calgary, the two clubs had combined for just 25 total shots.
San Jose's first shot of the third was a strong three-on-one rush led by Preissing, but Kiprusoff made the save on Primeau's shot.On the next trip into the offensive zone, Scott Thornton took off on a breakaway, but Kiprusoff got just enough of it with his shoulder to keep the shutout going.
With nine minutes left in regulation, Calgary was on their seventh power play, but again it was San Jose with the best opportunity.This time Kiprusoff had to turn away a point shot from Hannan with Ekman setting a screen out front.
Calgary Captain Jarome Iginla finally solved Schaefer seconds later when he tipped a shot from rookie Don Phaneuf.With seven minutes left, the Sharks trailed by two.
A delay of game penalty Chuck Kobesew moments later provided San Jose the opening they needed on Kiprusoff.A wrister from Marleau was tipped by Cheechoo out front and once again it was a one goal game and the home crowd was chanting for their club.San Jose still needed one more tally to at least force overtime.
As the clock approached the one minute mark, Schaefer began looking for the call and with left, he skated to the bench.Ron Wilson used his timeout with 44 seconds left to try and set the winning play.It may not have gone as designed, but a successful goal followed.
With 19 ticks on the clock, Brad Stuart took the puck from Cheechoo. His slapshot from the top of the circle ricocheted off traffic in front of Kiprusoff and the game was off to overtime.
It marked the third consecutive game San Jose had scored an extra attacker goal.
In the overtime stanza, both squads skated hard for the extra point, with the best opportunity a three-on-one rush by San Jose which was foiled by Kiprusoff.Both netminders held their ground and the first overtime shootout in HP Pavilion would take place.
Schaefer turned away Steven Reinprecht on the first shot with the help of the post only to have Kiprusoff snag Cheechoo's wrister on the Sharks shot.
Iginla beat Schaefer for Calgary's first successful try and Marleau's shot rang of the cross bar.Amonte followed for Calgary and he could have clinched it, but Schaefer made a spectacular toe save, straining the groin of everyone in the building.Sturm beat Kiprusoff five-hole to keep the shootout going.
Kobesew saw Schaefer snag his shot and Ekman had an opportunity to take home the win.Ekman's wrister beat Kiprusoff to the blocker side and San Jose had completed a miraculous comeback for the third consecutive game.
Niko Dimitrakos skated in his 100th career NHL contest.
Calgary not only is coached by former Sharks head coach Darryl Sutter, but on the ice, they also have former Sharks Kiprusoff, Bryan Marchment and Shean Donovan.