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Another home loss
SJ falls in OT on Iginla goal
1/3/07 - by Mike Lee

New year, same failure to put a visitor away at home. Returning home after a successful 4 game road trip in which they dominated all 4 games, the Sharks returned to their losing ways on Thursday night by dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to the Calgary Flames. San Jose tried to tackle their home woes by throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, but in the end a defensive lapse cost the Sharks another point.

Jerome Iginla scored two goals, including the game winner 3:26 into the extra period after Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo failed to get back defensively. With no defensive pressure in sight, Iginla easily deposited a centering pass from Dion Phaneuf who drew two Shark defenders behind San Jose's goal before sipping a pass out to Iginla in the low slot.

Rather than get off the ice, Thornton and Cheechoo coasted back into the Sharks zone, watching the play unfold in front of them. Iginla had all day to choose his shot location as he sat in isolation.

"We had our chances and Kipper made some unbelievable saves down teh stretch that ended up making the difference and getting them the extra point," said Sharks head coach Ron Wilson.

It shouldn't have come as any surprise to the Sharks that Iginla was going to be near the net. He is their offense. His 1st goal of the evening pushed over the 30 goal mark for the season. His tally at the end of the 1st period, gave the Flames a 2-1 lead.

That tally came on a sweet setup by Damond Langkow, who slid a drop pass to the Flames captain while he drew Christian Ehrhoff away from the shooting lane. Iginla had another shot from within 10 feet that Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov could only watch sail into the net.

Calgary jumped on Nabokov just 60 seconds into the ame, when Alex Tanuay scored his 10th goal of the season on a defensive breakdown by Craig Rivet and Mat Carle.

San Jose didn't lack offensive chances, but Kiprusoff allowed only 2 goals on 36 shots. Kiprusoff kept the Flames close, surrendering a power play tally to Torrey Mitchell and a 2nd period goal to Rivet.

Mitchell poked home an Ehrhoff shot that slipped behind Kiprusoff after Matthew Lombardi was sent off for hooking 2 minutes into the game. Ehrhoff threw the puck on net from the right point, that Kiprusoff stopped, but the puck pin-balled off Jonathan Cheechoo, then through the crease where Mitchell pounced on it.

"It seems like on the road we're a little more patient I guess," said Mitchell. "We keep things a little more simple. At home, we were trying to do that tonight. We made some mistakes, but we were working hard."

Rivet scored his 3rd of the season midway through the 2nd period with a shot from the blueline, that weaved its way through traffic. No assists were credited on the goal, but Jeremy Roenick helped create the scoring chance with a strong forecheck, forcing a soft clearing attempt to land on Rivet's stick.

Sharks captain Patrick Marleau missed on a breakaway attempt early in the 2nd period after leaving the penalty box. Thornton fed Marleau with a 60 foot pass that sprung the speedy center, but Kiprusoff stoned him with a nasty glove save.

Marleau also had a strong shift to kickoff the overtime period, but once again Kiprusoff was there to shut the door.

Nobody seemed to have the answers for Iginla. The same could be said for the continued struggles at home.

"I know it's bothered a lot of people," said Nabokov. "But as long as we keep going and we keep playing well, it will come. I have no doubt about it. People can speculate, but we have 50 points. Could we have more? Yes, but we're up there and the season is tough. I'm sure we're going to get rewarded in the end."

Game Notes:

With the single point earrned by making it to overtime, the Sharks parlayed a loss by the Dallas Stars, to move into a tie for the Pacific Division lead. Douglas Murray returned to the lineup after missing the last 3 ames with a bum ankle. Sandis Ozolinsh and Rob Davison were both scratches.

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1 2 3 OT T
CGY 2 0 0 1 3
SJ 1 1 0 0 2
1st period - 1, CGY, Tanguay 10 (Langkow), 1:00. 2, SJ, Mitchell 8 (Cheechoo, Ehrhoff), 4:03, (pp). 3, CGY, Iginla 30 (Langkow, Huselius), 16:26.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Rivet 3 (unassisted), 13:54.
3rd period - None
Overtime - 5, CGY, Iginla 31 (Phaneuf, Eriksson), 3:26.
1st period - Lombardi, CGY (hooking), 2:17; Hale, CGY (hooking), 8:47; Bernier, SJ (interference), 9:38; Conroy, CGY (hooking), 14:11.
2nd period - Marleau, SJ (hooking), 2:19; Sarich, CGY (tripping), 7:57.
3rd period - Phaneuf, CGY (dealy of game), 9:29.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
CGY - Kiprusoff 36 34
SJ - Nabokov 20 17
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
CGY 8 6 4 2 20
SJ 14 13 7 2 36
Power Play Conversion
CGY 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Miikka Kiprusoff
Jerome Iginla
Torrey Mitchell
Referees: Dan O'Halloran, Kevin Pollack. Linesmen: Lyle Seitz, Mark Wheler.

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