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Sharks stumble to Game 7
2-0 shutout loss burns game in hand
4/20/08 - by Mike Lee

With their backs against the wall, the Calgary Flames responded with a gritty performance, worthy of the 2-0 shutout victory they earned on Sunday night. Given a chance to end the series, the Sharks just flat out failed to show up. Things just never clicked for a San Jose roster that seemed to fight the puck at every opportunity. Former Sharks goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff turned aside all 21 shots that he faced for his 1st shutout of the series.

Things opened precariously for the Sharks in the opening minute of the game. Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov turned the puck over in front of his own net and barely got back as Alex Tanguay put a shot on net from point blank range.

With the rink tilted toward the San Jose net, Calary would turn up the heat and convert when Owen Nolan punched home his 20th career playoff goal at 11:33 of the opening period. Nolan was the third man into the Sharks zone after Robyn Regehr chipped the puck into the San Jose zone. Kristian Huselius tried putting a shot on net with a backhand attempt from the slot, but he could only push it forward. Trailing on the play, Nolan swatted at the puck and tucked just inside the right post.

Patrick Rissmiller was forced to take a hooking penalty at 16:37 after Marc-Edouard Vlasic tripped at his own blueline, allowing Eric Nystrom an unimpeded path to the net. San Jose weathered the storm, but almost gave up a second goal on a dump in play that allowed Jerome Iginla to jam the puck between Nabokov's pads. If not for the angle that Iginla had on the scoring chance, the puck would have crossed the goal line.

The Sharks enjoyed two power plays to open the 2nd period, but as has been the case the entire series, the scoring chances failed to materialize. San Jose started to gain some momentum with 4 minutes left in the period, but the shots that did find their way to the Calgary net would get snuffed out by Kiprusoff.

Milan Michalek led a 3-on-2 break with 2:45 left in the period, but Michalek inexplicably chose to hold the puck all the way to the net and sit outside the crease without taking any action until a Flames back-checker cleared him out of harms way.

Michalek's mistake would be magnified by Damond Langkow's 3rd goal of the series with 56.3 seconds left in the period. The Sharks turned the puck over in the neutral zone, then let Langkow walk in up the left wing boards and put a shot past Nabokov on the short side. Nabokov seemed to cheat a bit to his left in anticipation of a shot attempt toward the right side of the net.

Rather than mount a comeback, the Sharks played a discombobulated 3rd period that showcased more of the same bad passing and poor decisions that dug their 2-goal hole.

The closest San Jose came to scoring was a Joe Thornton wrap-around chance at the midway point of the period. The Sharks centerman had more time to setup a quality shot, but he rushed things, allowing the puck to slide off his stick and dribble into the slot.

The puck seemed to bounce off every stick being held by a Sharks player. A Christian Ehrhoff tripping penalty at 10:35 of the period didn't help matters.

With 5 minutes remaining in regulation, the Flames went on the offensive, keeping the puck out of their own end. The Sharks had no answer for the tactic. Of the shots the Sharks put on Kiprusoff, few challenged the Flames netminder.

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson pulled Nabokov with a minute remaining in the game, but the 6th skater did nothing to spark any realistic chance at overcoming the 2-goal deficit.

Game Notes:

Jeremy Roenick was a healthy scratch. Forward Patrick Rissmiller took Roenick's spot in the lineup. Defenseman Kyle McLaren was also listed as a scratch with a lower body injury.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 0 0
CGY 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, CGY, Nolan 2 (Huselius, Regehr), 11:33.
2nd period - 2, CGY Langkow 3 (Tanuay, Iginla), 19:03.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Rissmiller, SJ (hooking), 16:37.
2nd period - Huselius, CGY (tripping), 2:38; Tanguay, CGY (hooking), 12:05.
3rd period - Moss, CGY (hooking), 2:03; Ehrhoff, SJ (tripping), 10:35.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 25 23
CGY - Kiprusoff 21 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 5 9 7 21
CGY 11 8 6 25
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
CGY 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Damon Langkow
Robyn Regehr
Miikka Kiprusoff
Referees: VanMassenhoven, Hasenfratz. Linesmen: Cvik, Miller.

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