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Mitchell & Marleau wield hot hands in win
Sharks put 6 pucks past Kiprusoff in rout
3/23/11 - By Mike Lee -

The Calgary Flames entered Wednesday night's match up with the Sharks in dire need of points to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race, but they were simply out-classed in a 6-3 romp by San Jose at HP Pavilion. Patrick Marleau and Torrey Mitchell each scored a pair of goals and goaltender Antti Niemi made 22 saves to earn his 30th win of the season. The Flames slipped to 10th place in the standings with 7 games to play.

“We’ve been playing those types of teams for the past two months and the last 8 or 9 games here are going to be the exact same type of situation," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan when asked about the urgency of his opponent. "This is nothing new for us. I’d like to think that we are also one of those desperate teams that are playing for our lives and for position overall. This is playoff hockey and it’s started already”

San Jose inched to within a point of the Detroit Red Wings, who lost in regulation to the conference leading Vancouver Canucks. 13 of 18 Sharks skaters recorded points in the white-washing to keep the hot streak rolling.

The big offensive news was Mitchell, who has scored 5 goals in his last 7 games.

The Sharks got off to the start they wanted, converting on a goal from a hodge-podge line 3:00 minutes into the game. Jamal Mayers took a feed from Joe Thornton on the left side and circled around the back from the Flames net, before pivoting at the bottom of the right circle and firing the puck on net. Mitchell deflected the pass past Miikka Kiprusoff as he skated in right down the slot.

Dany Heatley would take a boarding penalty three minutes later, after taking exception with a Mark Giordano hit on Ryane Clowe and laying out the Flames defenseman. Calgary converted after a fortuitous deflection near the Sharks doorstep landed on Jerome Iginla's stick The Flames captain quickly flipped the deflection over Antti Niemi's pad to knot the game at 1-1.

Rookie winger Andrew Desjardins put the Sharks back on top at 9:17 by scoring his first NHL goal. The Lively, Ontario native carried the puck across the Flames blueline, criss-crossing with Mayers, before snapping a shot from the slot to beat Kiprusoff to the high stick side.

Calgary fought back, re-tying the game at 13:59, after defenseman Jason Demers coughed the puck up in his own zone. Trying to skate the puck out along the left wing boards, the Sharks rookie defenseman fed Cory Sarich who would up from the blueline. The shot hit Desjardins in the slot, redirecting past Niemi for the 2-2 tie.

The goal-fest would continue a minute later, when Patrick Marleau took a Douglas Murray feed at the Flames blueline and beat defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to the net. Marleau deeked right and lifted a backhand chance over Kiprusoff's left pad for this 350th career goal.

Marleau added to his goal total less than three minutes later after Alex Tanguay was sent off for holding. Marleau tapped home a rebound after Devin Setoguchi tried jamming a shot past Kiprusoff from the right side. Marleau's decision to skate toward the left post paid off as Setoguchi's chance trickled behind Kiprusoff.

“It wasn’t a good first period," said Flames head coach Brent Sutter. "We didn’t’ do a lot of things right, and we got off our game. They are a very good hockey team, and they took advantage of it. We can’t play that way, obviously.”

All the energy from the big opening period would vanish in the 2nd period.

Niemi made a series of saves 7 minutes into the period to keep the puck out of his own net and preserve the two-goal lead. His biggest save came on a Lance Bouma shot from 8-feet out. Kiprusoff countered with a pretty kick save four minutes later after Joe Thornton sent a laser pass to Setoguchi on the right post.

The Sharks flaccid effort eventually bit them, when Rene Bourque deposited his 26th goal of the season on a wrap-around chance at 13:20. Heatley helped on the goal, deflecting it past Niemi as Bourque skated behind the Sharks net from right to left.

Mitchell and Pavelski turned up the heat, pushing the Sharks lead back to two-goals at 15:50. Pavleski drove the net and put a shot on Kiprusoff that was deflected back out in front for the Sharks centermen to slip a pass to his right. Mitchell followed with a shot that knuckled on Kiprusoff, but found the back of the net for the Sharks 5th goal of the night.

Clowe and Cory Sarich dropped the gloves a minute into the 3rd period, after Clowe went after the Flames defenseman left his feet to lay a hit on Logan Couture. Clowe out-muscled Sarich, landing several punches after removing his opponent's helmet.

Marleau missed on the hat-trick with 9 minutes remaining in regulation after he slipped behind Sarich and fired a shot on net that Kiprusoff deflected with his glove.

Couture made it 6-3 a minute later, after the Flames looked as if they would cut into the Sharks lead. With a strong push in the Sharks end, Clowe was able to pounce on a deflection and push it up to Couture. The Calder candidate raced up ice in a 2-on-1 with Heatley, then snapped a shot past Kiprusoff for his 28th goal of the season.

“Everyone is so focused on the end, instead of the present," said Sutter. "The present is to take it game by game. Everyone is looking at how many points you need to have and what you have to do from here on in. We just have to win one game. That has to be our focus. We need to focus on one game and try to win and then go from there.”

Game Notes


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1 2 3 T
CGY 2 1 0 3
SJ 4 1 1 6
1st period - 1, SJ, Mitchell 8 (Mayers, Thornton), 3:00. 2, CGY, Iginla 34 (Jokinen, Tanguay), 7:13, (pp). 3, SJ, Desjardins 1 (Eager, Boyle), 9:27. 4, CGY, Sarich 4 (Kotalik, Regehr), 13:59. 5, SJ, Marleau 30 (Murray), 14:59. 6, SJ, Marleau 31 (Setoguchi, Pavelski), 17:33, (pp).
2nd period - 7, Bourque 26 (Kostopoulos), 13:20. 8, SJ, Mitchell 9 (Pavelski), 15:50.
3rd period - 9, SJ, Couture 28 (Clowe, Braun), 11:55.
1st period - Heatley, SJ (boarding), 5:50; Tanguay, CGY (holding), 16:59.
2nd period - Babchuk, CGY (tripping), 18:48.
3rd period - Sarich, CGY (fighting major), 0:58; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 0:58.
Shots Saves
CGY - Kiprusoff 38 32
SJ - Niemi 25 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CGY 8 8 9 25
SJ 16 14 8 38
Power Play Conversion
CGY 1 of 1
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Torrey Mitchell
Patrick Marleau
Joe Pavelski
Referees: Devorski, Leggo. Linesmen: Heyer, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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