Sharks Get Toasted in the “C” of Red- Despite outshooting Calgary 17-6 in the final period, the Flames still outscored the Sharks 3-0 when and where it mattered the most. Third period goals from Blake Comeau, Jarome Iginla, plus a late empty netter by Curtis Glencross led the home standing Calgary Flames to a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks with the loss split their latest Western Canada two game trip after Tuesday’s shootout win at Vancouver. The Sharks, who did not leave for Calgary until Wednesday morning because of inclement weather in Western Canada, looked very much like a road weary team who was skating with heavier legs. The Sharks battled through the first two periods and were able to stay fairly even with the Flames even though Calgary had the better of the scoring chances.
Thomas Greiss who started in goal for the Sharks so Antti Niemi could get a night off held his own for two periods after giving up an early goal in the opening four minutes of the game. Meanwhile Calgary Flames’ Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff returned to the line up Wednesday night after being out of action for a month with injuries. If Kiprusoff had any rust on him it did not show for most of the evening as he would make 32 saves. The Sharks meanwhile looked out of sorts as four power plays on the evening netted six shots on goal and looked otherwise listless until the final one in the closing moments of the game. The bad news for the Sharks was the regulation loss. The worse news for the Sharks is the Pacific Division title is starting to look more out of reach every day as the Anaheim Ducks won again at home versus Phoenix. The Sharks focus may now just be trying to land somewhere between the 4th and 8th seeds in finding a way to get into the post season tournament as the season is reaching its halfway point.
Another Tale of Two Periods- The Calgary Flames would only need just under four and a half minutes to draw first blood and did so as the Sharks just seemed to be slower at getting set defensively. Roman Cervenka would score the games’ first goal after getting the benefit of a juicy rebound off of Greiss who had just saved a slapshot by Jay Bouwmeester. Later in the period the Sharks would get their first opportunity to tie the game on a power play opportunity as Cervenka would be called for hooking. The Sharks almost converted in one sequence where Patrick Marleau, taking a feed pass from Joe Thornton tried to jam the puck under Kiprusoff, however to no avail. Mike Cammalleri of the Flames would later be called for another hooking penalty. The Sharks power play was less effective here as they could never seem to get anything going.
The second period for a good portion of it was more of the same with Calgary getting the better half of the play on the ice while the Sharks still seemed to be skating with heavy legs. Greiss by this time though had settled down and had recovered from giving up an early goal in the first period. Greiss made several key saves during the middle frame. The Sharks penalty kill units came in handy in one sequence as they effectively killed off a interference penalty to Brad Stuart. The Sharks would catch a huge break well into the middle period when Marleau would create a Flames turnover near the Calgary goal by stealing the puck from Mark Giordano. Marleau then fed it over to Joe Pavelski. With Kiprusoff giving Pavelski his full attention, Pavelski would slide the puck over to Thornton who knocked it into the Calgary net. The Sharks however could not gain much momentum for the goal however still weathered the Flames attack through the remainder of the period.
Third Period Breakdown- For the Sharks the third period of this game would probably be one of the more forgettable ones of the shortened season. Despite outshooting Calgary by 11 shots on goal for the period, this statistic would only in the end point to the Sharks futility and bring back memories of several February games. Just 2:57 into the period the Flames Blake Comeau took a feed pass from Chris Butler. Comeau then drilled a slap shot from the right point that cleanly beat Greiss to his right to give Calgary the lead. Things from here would only get worse for team teal as just 99 seconds later a major turnover by the Sharks on their own end of the ice led to Inginla’s 7th goal of the season for Calgary. Iginla scored as Ryane Clowe tried to slide the puck over to Douglas Murray who was not able to handle the short pass. Less than five minutes into the final period the Sharks had fallen behind by two goals. The Sharks were able to get enough pucks on net and even had two power play chances. The second power play late in the period saw the Sharks narrowly miss pulling to within one goal when Kiprusoff made a point blank save on Marleau. The Sharks first power play opportunity was very slow moving and seemed to be lacking of any urgency. The coup de grace for Sharks came when after team teal pulled Greiss for an extra attacker inside a minute to go. With the Sharks not able to keep the puck in the Flames zone, Glencross skated away scored an easy empty netter. Technically the goal was short handed as it came at the end of the Sharks power play. By the time this last goal had scored, the game was already no longer in doubt.
Shark Bytes- The three stars of the game were all from the Calgary Flames. Third was Chris Butler, second was Blake Comeaux. The first star of the game was Miikka Kiprusoff who had a great game in his return to the Flames net. This was also Kiprusoff’s 300th career win as a member of the Calgary Flames, which comes at the expense of the team who traded him there. Patrick Marleau is still sitting on 399 career goals. Tim Kennedy has six shots on goal for the Sharks. Joe Pavelski and James Sheppard had four shots on goal each. Thomas Greiss made 22 saves, is now 1-3-0 on the season.
Sharks Next Game- The Sharks make a pit stop at the Shark Tank to host the St Louis Blues Saturday afternoon. The game starts at 1pm as the Sharks leave for Colorado right after the game. The Blues won all four games played at the Shark Tank last season including two playoff games. Three of the four games were blowouts. The Sharks won the first of the three games versus the Blues in St Louis 2-1 February 19th.
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