Sharks Take 3-2 Series Lead

 

SAN JOSE
– Jonathan Cheechoo scored two goals in the third period to lift
the San Jose Sharks past the Calgary Flames 4-3 and into a 3-2 lead
in the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs at San Jose.
SAN JOSE – Jonathan Cheechoo scored two goals in the third period to lift the San Jose Sharks past the Calgary Flames 4-3 and into a 3-2 lead in the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs at San Jose.

The Sharks brought a 2-1 lead into the third period, then enjoyed a 4-1 margin when Cheechoo scored at 4:52 and 8:22.

Calgary battled back with goals by Daymond Langkow (9:06) and David Moss (18:43) before the Sharks limited the Flames to one shot on net in the final 1:17.

Game Six of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Calgary at 5pm PDT. A seventh game, if needed, will be at 7pm Tuesday at San Jose’s HP Pavilion.

Calgary jumped to a 1-0 lead by scoring on a 5-on-3 power play 4:03 into the second period. The Sharks, second seeded in the Western Conference, responded with two goals in the second period to establish a 2-1 advantage.

After being limited to a franchise-low 10 shots on net in Game Four, Calgary hustled to an 11-5 edge in shots in a scoreless first period.

Jarome Iginla, the Calgary captain, gave the visitors the 1-0 edge when he one-timed a soft pass from Kristian Huselius at the right dot past goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

Joe Pavelski earned his second goal of the series when he followed a long shot from Christian Ehrhoff by stuffing the rebound past an off-balance goalie Miikka Kiprusoff during a power play at 11:32.

Patrick Marleau, San Jose’s captain, whipped a 15-footer past Kiprusoff at 18:07 for the 2-1 margin. Joe Thornton’s dash into the Flames zone, then a deft pass to a streaking Marleau in the slot, ignited the scoring play.

“The bigger the game, the better he plays,” Thornton said of Marleau’s hot scoring streak. “Patty had a great game.”

Cheechoo scored twice in the third period. Cheechoo connected on a 10-footer off a Pavelski feed at 4:52, then at the end of a 2-on-1 rush with Marleau at 8:22.

Pavelski initially turned a crisp pass from the sideboards from Ryane Clowe into an attempt to stuff the puck inside the left post. When Kiprusoff blocked that route, Pavelski, while prone on the ice, poked the puck to an unmarked Cheechoo in the low slot for the quick-strike goal.

“Tonight, I would argue that our best player was Joe Pavelski,” said San Jose coach Ron Wilson. “I think Joe Pavelski set the example for the other guys.”

Marleau took the left side on the 2-on-1 rush after a Flame turnover at the blueline. Marleau slid the puck past defenseman Robyn Regehr and onto Cheechoo’s stick. The winger patiently looked for an opening over Kiprusoff, then delivered the game-winner.

“Goal-scoring is about patience,” said Wilson. “It’s not being in a hurry to be there.”

Daymond Langkow added a power play goal for Calgary at 9:06. The Flames made it exciting with a David Moss goal with 1:18 to play.

“There’s no quit in Calgary,” Marleau said of the Flames’ response to adversity in the closing minutes. “We can’t take a shift off.”

“It’s our turn now,” said Calgary coach Mike Keenan about his club being down one game in the series. “San Jose’s done it twice (trailing 1-0 and 2-1). We have to come back and tie it and at the same time face elimination.

“We gave them two unearned goals,” added Keenan. “Poor decision-making by two of our defensemen, and that made the decision in the game. It was not related to effort, it was related to the poor decisions that they normally wouldn’t make or haven’t made to this point.”

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