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Consistently bad again
Flames latest team to get healthy at Sharks expense
3/19/10 - By Mike Lee -

Who says the Sharks aren’t playing with any consistency right now. They’ve been consistently bad the last five games. They played poorly again on Friday night, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Calgary Flames in Alberta . The script has been the same the past week and San Jose followed it to the letter. Give up a couple of goals in the opening period, show a glimmer of life in the middle of the game, then make the mistakes necessary to allow the opposition to pull away.

Calgary obliged by outworking the Sharks early to jump out to a 2-0 lead. San Jose ’s confidence entering the game was on shaky ground, but it seemed to seep into the stratosphere with every Calgary goal.

When things are going bad, sometimes they can just snowball. Joe Thornton tried to snap that by simply winning a faceoff. Instead, he took a Matt Stajan stick to the face, which cut him above the eye. Both referees missed the infraction, which should have been a double minor for drawing blood. They didn’t miss the holding penalty that Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins would take a minute later.

As if on cue, San Jose would then surrender the customary first goal, coming just after Husking penalty expired. Evgeni Nabokov made a valiant effort to deny two Flames shots in close, but he couldn’t stop the third, a tap in from Jerome Iginla from the doorstep. Joe Pavelski failed to get back in time to deny the Calgary captain, who converted his 32nd goal of the season.

The Sharks followed that up with sloppy play in their own end that resulted in another Flames goal. Dan Boyle tried to send a puck up to forward Devin Setoguchi along the left wing boards, but it was intercepted by Niklas Hagman who chipped it over to Damond Langkow. The Flames centerman then snapped a shot from the high slot that found the upper right corner of the goal.

A strong start to the 2nd period allowed San Jose ’s top line to cut the Flames lead to 2-1 at 2:41 of the period. Dany Heatley one-timed a Thornton feed past Miika Kiprusoff from the slot, after Patrick Marleau beat the Calgary defense to a loose puck in the corner. The goal was Heatley’s 37th of the season.

All the positives of the Heatley goal would prove meaningless as Calgary would answer with a pair of goals to close out the period.

As become all too customary, the Sharks let the opposing team’s 3rd and 4th line get in on the scoring. Nigel Dawes converted on a rebound in front of the Sharks net after Calgary applied a textbook forecheck in the Sharks zone. Mikael Backlund put a shot on net from the slot, but Nabokov was forced to defend the shot with his left leg pad. The puck landed right on Dawes stick for the easy deposit.

Calgary would strike two minutes later on more atrocious defense. Backlund carried the puck into the Sharks zone and slid a pass to Eric Nystrom on the left wing for the easy deposit. Defenseman Douglas Murray was caught out of position and could only watch Nystrom slip his 9th goal of the season past Nabokov.

Ryane Clowe tried to light a fire under his bench by engaging Iginla in a fight right before the second intermission. Clowe ended up sniffing Iginla’s fists in a bout that favored the Flames captain.

Manny Malhotra made it a 4-2 game when he punched home his 12th goal of the season at 12:01 of the 3rd period. Rookie Logan Couture skated the puck out from behind the Calgary net and threw a shot on goal. Kiprusoff appeared to have the puck controlled against the right post, but a teammate chipped it out to the top of the crease, where Malhotra was for the easy deposit.

Dan Boyle made it 4-3 with 1:51 left in regulation on a nice play setup by Couture. The youngster skated the puck around the end boards from left to right before sending a pass through the crease to Boyle on the left side. The defenseman whipped home his 13th of the season.

San Jose would pull Nabokov, but it proved fruitless.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 2 3
CGY 2 2 0 4
1st period - 1, CGY, Iginla 32 (Stajan, Giordano), 3:24. 2, CGY, Langkow 14 (Hagman), 8:52.
2nd period - 3, SJ, Heatley 37 (Thornton, Marleau), 2:41. 4, CGY, Dawes 11 (Backlund, Mayers), 9:04; 5, CGY, Nystrom 9 (Backlund, Mayers), 11:03.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Malhotra 12 (unassisted), 12:01. 7, SJ, Boyle 13 (Couture, Heatley), 18:09.
Penalties
1st period - Huskins, SJ (holding), 1:18; Langkow, CGY (tripping), 11:41; Bourque, CGY (boarding), 14:22.
2nd period - Staubits, SJ (holding), 5:43; Giordano, CGY (hooking), 12:18; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 19:56; Iginla, CGY (fighting major), 19:56.
3rd period - Clowe, SJ (roughing), 12:47.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 24 20
CGY - Kiprusoff 28 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 14 8 6 28
CGY 6 8 10 24
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
CGY 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Damond Langkow
Mark Giordano
Dan Boyle
Attendence
19,289
Officials
Referees: Meier, Joannette. Linesmen: Cameron, Nelson.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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