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Damphousse banks winner
Sharks blow 2-0 lead then win in on last second goal
3/25/04 - by Mike Lee

Vincent Damphousse helped the Sharks overcome a 3rd period disaster at HP Pavilion on Thursday night by scoring the go-ahead goal with 23.2 seconds remaining in regulation against former teammate Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames. Damphousse added to the drama by scoring the goal from behind the Flames net with a trick shot off Kiprusoff's leg. Calgary had overcome a 2-0 Sharks lead with a pair of goals in the final period and looked poised to steal a tie, before Damphousse's late heroics. The 3-2 win also vaulted San Jose into sole possession of the 2nd seed in the Western Conference, because the Colorado Avalanche lost on Thursday.

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1 2 3 T
CGY 0 0 2 2
SJ 0 2 1 3
1st period - NONE
2nd period - S.J, N. EKMAN (19) (A. KOROLYUK, A. MCCAULEY), 16:04 S.J, M. RICCI (6) (M. RATHJE, J. CHEECHOO), 17:04
3rd period - CGY, M. GELINAS (15) (C. CLARK, M. LOMBARDI), 13:44 CGY, O. SAPRYKIN (11) (J. LEOPOLD, J. IGINLA), 15:59 S.J, V. DAMPHOUSSE (9) (B. STUART, J. CHEECHOO), 19:36
1st period - NONE
2nd period - CGY, M. LOMBARDI, 05:39 - Delay of game S.J, N. DIMITRAKOS, 17:26 - Hi stick
3rd period - S.J, C. BROWN, 01:36 - Hooking S.J, J. MARSHALL, 05:20 - Hi stick S.J, B. STUART, 15:16 - Holding CGY, C. CONROY, 17:36 - Boarding
  Shots Saves
CGY - Kiprusoff 27 24
SJ - Nabokov 30 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CGY 9 7 14 30
SJ 5 10 12 27
Power Play Conversion
CGY 1 of 4
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Vincent Damphousse
Nils Ekman
Martin Gelinas
Damphousse pulled a rabbit out of his hat with the shot that leaves San Jose with three points of it franchise record of 96 points with five games to play. Their 96 points this season also moves them two points ahead of the Avalanche and three points ahead of the Dallas Stars.

The Flames comeback may have served the Sharks well, teaching them that no lead is safe this time of year. That fact will become magnified once the playoffs start. Another good lesson for a young team that has learned on the fly this season.

The Sharks were cruising in the 3rd period when Martin Gelinas and Oleg Saprykin struck for Calgary over a two minute span . Gelinas scored with just over six minutes remaining in regulation when he redirected a Chris Clark pass from the top of the crease past Evgeni Nabokov.

Saprykin would follow up with a power play goal after Nabokov got caught out of the net and the Flames got a break on a bounce. Saprykin took a Jordan Leopold pass that was wrapping around the end boards and stuffed it into the open net. The Flames had the luxury of the man advantage after Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart took a bad holding penalty while the Sharks were clinging to a one goal lead.

Kirprusoff, the former Sharks netminder who was traded to Calgary earlier this season, leads the league in goals against average and shut his old team out for the first 35 minutes of the game. The Sharks would get to their former teammate with a pair of goals a minute apart late in the 2nd period.

Nils Ekman became the fourth 20-goal scorer for the Sharks this season when he deposited a nice pass from Alexander Korolyuk to open the game's scoring. Korolyuk took a kick pass from Alyn McCauley along the left wing boards, before spinning and firing a pass across the slot to Ekman who one-timed the pass into the Calgary net.

Mike Ricci would stake the Sharks to a 2-0 lead 60 seconds later when he redirected a Mke Rathje blast through Kiprusoff's pads. The Flames netminder appeared to squeeze the puck, but it trickled out and wobbled over the goal line.

Play of the Game
The only thing that would have made Damphousse's goal more dramatic was if it had come during the playoffs, so the practice should serve the Sharks well. This team may just be starting to believe that it can manufacture goals during crunch time, and the game winner against Calgary was a perfect example. Damphousse was also extremely patient on the play, holding the puck until the right moment before throwing it at Kiprusoff, rather than rushing the shot. Patience is a must in the playoffs.

The Turning Point
Stuart's penalty late in the game may have been the Sharks biggest gaff of the night. It was a blatant take-down that came at a crucial moment in the game, and would prove to be costly after Saprykin scored to tie the game.

Save of the Game
Nabokov frustrated the Flames on a sequence in the 3rd period when Calgary threw three or four shots on net in rapid succession as a scrum formed in front of the net. The Sharks netminder held his position and knocked down each attempt until a forward came back to help clear the puck.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Jonathan Cheechoo didn't score any goals but he helped setup two, tallying assists on Ricci's goal and Damphousse's game winner. The assists leave him one shy of a 20 assist season to go on top of his 27 goals this year.

Honorable Mention
So much for two defensive minded teams, at least in the 3rd period. Both teams combined for 26 shots on goal in the 3rd

"If you get the puck quick, you can beat the goalie to the post. We wanted two points. One point wasn't good enough. We know Dallas has got more wins than us. We wanted to pass another team, and we did it. Now we're looking ahead again." - Vincent Damphousse

"I know Vinny. That's goalie interference. That's the referee's job. ... We knew we'd have our hands full because of the way they played in the first period. It's frustrating, because I thought we played really well." - Flames head coach Darryl Sutter

"I was out to save the first shot, and I think (Damphousse) missed the net or something. I just tried to jump on the first post, and at the same time he was shooting it, and it hit my leg and it went in. It was an awful way to finish this game." - Miikka Kiprusoff

"A win like this is one of the signs we're doing something right. It makes a huge difference to be on a successful team. I'm so glad at the way everything has gone so far this season." - Nils Ekman

Mike Rathje's assist moved him into 1st on the Sharks franchise list for career scoring by a defenseman.

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