Calgary Flames force Game 7 in San Jose with 2-0 win over Sharks

The Canadian Press
By: The Canadian Press
Apr 20, 2008

Calgary Flames\' Daymond Langkow, right, celebrate his goal with teammate Jarome Iginla during second period NHL Western Conference quarter-final hockey action against the San Jose Sharks in Calgary, Sunday, April 20, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Author: The Hockey News


Calgary Flames force Game 7 in San Jose with 2-0 win over Sharks

The Canadian Press
By: The Canadian Press
Apr 20, 2008

CALGARY - The Calgary Flames have stared down elimination once in the NHL playoffs. They'll have to do it again to move past the first round for the first time since their Stanley Cup final run in 2004.

A 2-0 win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday forced Game 7 in San Jose on Tuesday in their Western Conference quarter-final series.

It will be the first Game 7 the Sharks have hosted, as their previous five have been on the road.

After Game 6 losses in the first round to Anaheim and Detroit the past two years respectively, the Flames played a hard-checking game to extend their season.

"Everyone was really committed and determined tonight," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "We believed we were going to find a way to win that game and force a Game 7.

"This will be our second (elimination game). We're going to need the same type of effort and be more determined. They're going to be desperate like we were tonight and both teams are facing it now."

Owen Nolan and Daymond Langkow scored for Calgary and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff earned a 21-save shutout in front of a crimson tide of 19,289 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov stopped 23 of 25 shots.

The Flames got the secondary scoring they desperately needed to lengthen this series and take the pressure off Iginla and defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who had been carrying the load offensively.

Not happy with less than 11 minutes of ice time in Game 5, winger Kristian Huselius was much more of a presence Sunday.

The Swede didn't score, but played with a feistiness previously-unseen this series and helped set up Nolan's goal in the first period.

The Flames checked San Jose relentlessly along the walls and held the Sharks' big guns - Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek - to zero goals.

"The big thing we did tonight was we capitalized on our chances and we were much better in our own zone," defenceman Robyn Regehr said.

"We know that when (the Sharks) get down they get very aggressive pushing down the wall to keep pucks in, and I thought our wingers really did a great job tonight."

Kiprusoff was outstanding during the stretches his team's scoring chances dried up and the Sharks were pressing for a goal.

"I think this is a pretty confident team here," the Finn said.

Calgary amassed 34 hits to San Jose's 14 and won 65 per cent of the faceoffs.

The Flames held San Jose scoreless on three power-play chances and went 0-for-2 with a man advantage.

San Jose finished second in the standings in the NHL in the regular season, were the best road team in the league and were the hottest club after the all-star break.

Calgary is 3-2 at HP Pavilion in both the regular season and playoffs this season.

"We played hard for 82 games to get home ice (advantage) in that seventh game so hopefully it will count for us," Thornton said.

But there's more pressure on the Sharks than on the Flames now, said Regehr.

"They were a team that was picked to be a Stanley Cup contender at the start of the season and they had one of the best second halves of any team in the league," Regehr said.

"They were picked by the majority of the so-called experts to win this series, but the important thing is we have a chance to get it to a one-game showdown here and it's up to us. We have an opportunity to win this series."

Langkow padded Calgary's lead to 2-0 with 53 seconds remaining in the second period. He took two strides from the boards and beat Nabokov with a low wrist shot stick side for his third of the post-season.

The Sharks mustered some sustained pressure in Calgary's zone after two scoreless power plays in the second period, but botched a 3-on-1 opportunity with just over three minutes to go.

Michalek hung onto the puck too long and then didn't get a clean shot away. The Sharks No. 2 goalscorer during the regular season remained pointless in the series.

Kiprusoff's pad save on Ryane Clowe from close range late in the second and a quick glove on Thornton's through traffic during a Sharks power play early in the second period helped preserve Calgary's lead heading into the third.

"Kipper made some saves, but we didn't have enough people hanging around the front of the net paying the price to score," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "They've scored a lot of ugly goals in this series. We have to find a way to manufacture a few ourselves."

Calgary carried the play off the opening faceoff and outshot San Jose 5-1 in the first five minutes.

"We came out and had a strong start, which we wanted to and got the building into it and the fans were really helping us tonight," Regehr said.

A couple big shifts of hard grunt work behind San Jose's net midway through the opening period set the table for the Flames' first goal.

Huselius reclaimed the puck that was getting away from him with deft stickwork and he got a backhand shot away. Nolan corralled the rebound and scored low stick side on Nabokov at 11:33 for his second of the series.

Wilson continued to play a shell game with his forward lines and Flames counterpart Mike Keenan matched him in line juggling. Calgary played seven defenceman with Jim Vandermeer playing the wing.

Notes(at) - Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick was a health scratch . . . The Sharks are 2-11 in Game 6 in franchise history . . . With blowing snow earlier in the day and temperatures in the minus teens at game time Sunday, it felt more mid-season than post-season hockey in Calgary.

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Calgary Flames force Game 7 in San Jose with 2-0 win over Sharks