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Flames only a flicker in loss
Road trip begins with a W
10/9/06 - by Mike Lee

Given the frequency in which the Sharks visited the penalty box on Monday night, the outcome of Monday's road trip kickoff game in Calgary should have been a dire one for the boys in teal. Instead, San Jose turned in a penalty killing clinic at the Pengrowth Saddledome en route to a 4-1 white washing of the host Flames. San Jose turned aside the first nine Calgary power play chances to run their streak to 17 straight kills to start the season, before surrendering a cheap Alex Tanguay goal late in the game.

The Sharks seemingly did everything right, starting with securing things in their own end. A stingy defense and exceptional penalty killing was the difference in the lopsided win. San Jose would put four pucks past Miikka Kiprusoff and coast to their third straight victory.

Christian Ehrhoff, Steve Bernier, Milam Michalek and Mark Smith would all score, propelling the Sharks to the top of the Pacific Division standings.

Ehrhoff continued the Sharks defensive goal scoring trend with a power play tally with 15 seconds remaining in the opening period. San Jose was forced to match Calgary's intensity during the period, and cashed in after Marcus Nilson was sent off for hooking late in the period. Joe Thornton setup the goal by splitting Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf in the slot, before sliding a drop pass back to a trailing Ehrhoff. The Sharks defenseman grabbed Thornton's pass then deeked Kiprusoff before sliding the puck into a wide open net.

The Sharks pressed on the forecheck in an attempt to soften up Calgary's defensive corp, and that strategy paid dividends less then two minutes into the 2nd period. Bernier forced the issue with a hit on Brad Ference as the Flames defenseman tried to wrap the puck around his own end boards. The puck kicked off Roman Hamrlik in the right corner, then slid toward the Flames goal. Bernier punched at the puck as it floated in front of Kiprusoff, squeezing it through the Calgary goaltender's pads.

Daymond Langkow missed on a golden opportunity cut the Sharks lead in half midway through the period, when he took a pass on the Sharks doorstep, then stuffed a shot into a sprawling Vesa Toskala's glove. Langkow shattered his stick over the cross bar after missing on the sure goal.

San Jose extended its lead to 3-0 on a circus goal with 7 seconds remaining in the period, while both teams skated a man short. Patrick Marleau started the weird sequence by carrying the puck up ice on a breakaway, but was stopped by Kiprusoff in tight. Marleau grabbed his own rebound and slipped a pass to Michalek in the slot. Michalek fanned on the shot, then a trailing Kyle McLaren over-skated the puck as it sat in the slot motionless. Michalek reversed directions and swept a shot pas Kiprusoff, who was scrambling to center himself back in the net after stoning Marleau.

Four minor penalties would in the period and the parade to the box continued into the final period. San Jose would be forced to kill a 5-on-3 after Thornton and Patrick Rissmiller drew infractions 1:30 apart.

Calgary's woes with the manage advantage would stretch to 24 straight chances without a goal as Curtis Brown would take yet another penalty for San Jose later in the period.

Converting on the power play has not been an issue for the Sharks through three games this season, and Smith would score the Sharks sixth goal on the man-advantage in 20 tries this season at the 9:00 mark. Scott Hannan ripped a shot from the point, clipping Smith's skate before redirecting into the Flames net.

The Flames ended San Jose's goalless streak on the penalty kill with three minutes remaining in regulation, when Tanguay tapped in a loose puck that slipped through Toskala's pads. Toskala stopped Jerome Iginla's blast from the left dot, but failed to secure the puck. Tanguay simply poked at the unattended puck, ending the streak.

Notes:

The Sharks were without left wing Mark Bell, who remained in San Jose to nurse a groin injury sustained in the Sharks 2-0 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night. Ryan Clowe returned from the injured reserve and saw limited action on the Sharks 4th line. Smith took Bell's spot on the Thornton-Jonathan Cheechoo line.

The Sharks will spend Tuesday at the Banff resort in Alberta, as part of a team bonding excursion. Head coach Ron Wilson has organized a curling tournament for his players at the resort.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 1 4
CAL 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, San Jose, Ehrhoff 2 (Thornton, Marleau), 19:45, (pp).
2nd period - 2, San Jose, Bernier 1 ( Marleau), 1:21. 3, San Jose, Michalek 3 (Marleau, McLaren), 19:23.
3rd period - 4, San Jose, Smith 1 (Hannan, Cheechoo), 9:00, (pp). 5, Calgary, Tanguay 1 (Iginla, Pahneuf), 17:00, (pp).
 
Penalties
1st period - Cheechoo, SJ (holding), 10:16; Amonte, CAL (charging), 13:58; Smith, SJ (interference), 14:52; Nilson, CAL (hooking), 18:25.
2nd period - Zyuzin, CAL (holding the stick), 3:19; Rissmiller, SJ (hooking), 10:09; Gorges, SJ (interference), 15:43; Clowe, SJ (hooking), 18:48; McCarty, CAL (holding), 18:57; Ehrhoff, SJ (tripping), 19:48.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (interference), 2:18; Rissmiller, SJ (hooking), 3:48; Lundmark, CAL (holding), 7:15; Brown, SJ (hooking), 12:16; Thornton, SJ (hooking), 16:22; Kobasew, CAL (interference), 18:44; Zyuzin, CAL (cross checking), 19:18.
Goaltending
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala 30 29
CAL - Kiprusoff 26 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 8 10 26
CAL 9 8 13 30
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 6
CAL 1 of 10
3 Stars of the Game
Vesa Toskala
Patrick Marleau
Mark Vlassic
Attendence
19,289
Officials
Referees: Dennis LaRue, Chris Rooney. Linesmen: Steve Barton, Pierre Champoux.

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