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New Life
Dramatic win ties series at 2-2
4/15/08 - by Mike Lee

The playoffs are all about momentum shifts, and there was as big a shift as they come on Tuesday night in Calgary. Trailing by a goal heading into the 3rd period, the Sharks manufactured the tying goal on Jonathan Cheechoo's 1st goal of the playoffs with 4:54 to play, then won the game 3-2 with 9.6 seconds left in regulation on a deflection by Joe Thornton. Backed into a corner, the Sharks played with enough desperation in the final 5 minutes to tie the series up at 2-2.

Thornton may have exercised some of the playoff demons that have plagued his career, by positioning himself in front of the Flames net, then redirected a Douglas Murray shot from the point, past Miikka Kiprusoff. With Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf draped all over him and his back to the Flames net, Thornton was able to keep his position and screen Kiprusoff.

The goal was only the 6th game winning goal with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation in NHL history.

Had they lost, the Sharks would have trailed the Flames in the series 3-1 with the series returning to San Jose on Thursday. Taking a pair of one goal leads, the Flames looked as if they would do just that, even though the managed to generate only 10 shots on goal throughout the night.

The Sharks spent the first 3 minutes of the game trying to settle a score with big hits and ended up chasing their tails rather than establishing any puck possession. Jerome Iginla would answer with the game's first goal 3:19 into the contest. Damond Langkow took possession of an Alex Tanguay pass and put a shot on Evgeni Nabokov from the slot, but the puck kicked back out to Iginla. The Flames captain snapped the 20 footer just inside the left post for the early 1-0 lead.

The shots would be the only 2 the Flames put on goal in the period.

Things calmed down and the Sharks started to put together some offensive chances. One resulted in a hooking penalty to former Shark Wayne Primeau. The man-advantage proved fruitless as San Jose failed to put together anything remotely close to a scoring chance.

Calgary would get it's own crack on the power play late in the period when Jody Shelley was whistled for roughing in front of the Flames net. As Shelly skated of, he took a swipe at Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. San Jose buckled down and kept the Flames from generating any shots during the power play, and entered the 1st intermission down by the lone goal.

The Sharks tied the game midway through the 2nd period on a Patrick Marleau shot that was tipped in by Ryane Clowe. Craig Conroy put the Sharks on the power play after taking a hooking penalty at 9:43. Joe Thornton and Clowe parked themselves in front of Kiprusoff as the puck wound around to Marleau on the point. The Sharks captain whipped a shot on net and Clowe shed a defender to get lumber on the puck.

San Jose would relinquish the lead with 1:31 left in the period on a Dion Phaneuf shot that Nabokov missed with the glove hand. The Flames won the faceoff in the Sharks zone after a Sharks icing then worked it back to Phaneuf who bagged the heartbreaker right before the 2nd intermission.

Kiprusoff made a huge save on a scoring chance by Marleau after Craig Conroy was sent off for tripping. The Sharks captain took a centering pass through the slot and tried tucking it inside right post, but Kiprusoff jammed his left skate against the right post, stoning Marleau.

San Jose tied the game again at 15:06 on a Jonathan Cheechoo shot from the bottom of the right circle. Devin Setoguchi created the opportunity with a desperate forecheck that forced a turnover deep in the Flames zone. Cheechoo sent a wrister in on net that tucked inside Kiprusoff and the right post.

The nails started getting gnawed off with three minutes to play, with both teams trying to keep the puck out of their own zone. Murray and Thornton would empty the Saddledome with what prove to be one of the biggest goals in Sharks history.

Game Notes:

The Sharks went with 7 defenseman, sitting Alexei Semanov, and Sandis Ozolinsh. Patrick Rissmiller and Curtis Brown were also scratches for San Jose.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 2 3
CGY 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, CGY, Iginla 2 (Langkow, Tanguay), 3:19.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Clowe 4 (Marleau, Thornton), 10:56, (pp). 3, CGY, Phaneuf 3 (Iginla), 18:29.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Cheechoo 1 (Pavelski, Setoguchi), 15:06. 5, SJ, Thornton 1 (Murray, Clowe), 19:50.
1st period - Primeau, CGY (hooking), 6:37; Shelley, SJ (roughing), 17:18.
2nd period - Conroy, CGY (hooking), 9:43; Ehrhoff, SJ (hooking), 12:18.
3rd period - Rivet, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 4:41; Conroy, CGY (tripping), 7:36; Mitchell, SJ (high sticking), 10:18.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 10 8
CGY - Kiprusoff 32 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 12 14 32
CGY 2 5 3 10
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
CGY 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Jerome Iginla
Patrick Marleau
Referees: Watson, McCauley. Linesmen: Cameron, Murphy.

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