Sharks douse flames, face Stars next

Flames right wing Owen Nolan is hugged by Sharks center Jeremy

– The San Jose Sharks are on to the second round of the Stanley
Cup Playoffs because a four-goal effort in the second period led to
a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames Tuesday.
SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks are on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs because a four-goal effort in the second period led to a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames Tuesday.

Having the first Game Seven at home in Sharks history resulted in the club making it out of the Western Quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season. San Jose is 8-3 all-time in first-round competition.

After former San Jose captain Owen Nolan scored on a breakaway 3:33 into the second period for Calgary, the Sharks responded with two goals from Jeremy Roenick and one each from Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski to exit the period with a 5-2 lead.

The win gave San Jose the series 4-3 and earned the Sharks a series with the Dallas Stars beginning Friday at 7pm at HP Pavilion. Detroit and Colorado will compete in the other semi-final in the Western Conference. Montreal plays Philadelphia, Pittsburgh the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference.

The Sharks may have had the momentum in the first period with a 14-5 edge in shots and 13-7 edge in face-offs, yet each team settled for one power play goal to go into the first intermission 1-1.

San Jose tallied first, Joe Thornton slicing a shot past goalie Miikka Kiprusoff at the 10:57 mark.

Calgary gave the Sharks the power play when defenseman Anders Eriksson was whistled for holding Ryane Clowe at 9:32.

Thornton controlled the puck behind the Flames net and pulled the puck to Jonathan Cheechoo on the left sideboards. After exchanging passes with Roenick, Cheechoo spotted Thornton across the slot for a quick pass that Thornton turned into a successful wrister from 15 feet out.

Calgary posted the equalizer on the visitors’ third shot on net.

Milan Michalek held Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr near the San Jose blueline and was sent to the penalty box at 12:07. Calgary responded with the tying goal in 16 seconds, the puck never leaving the Sharks zone. Dion Phaneuf, the team’s second-leading scorer in the series, slid the puck across the blueline to Adrian Aucoin. The Flames pointman rifled a shot from the right point that Jarome Iginla deflected into the net at 12:23.

Nolan temporarily quieted the sold-out HP Pavilion audience when he went half the length of the ice to convert the breakaway chance for the 2-1 Flames edge. Play was halted briefly to allow off-ice officials to check replays on the goal. The initial Nolan shot from point-blank range was rebuffed by Nabokov but the rebound kicked off Nolan’s shin and into the net.

Roenick, playing in his 142nd playoff game, scored the next two goals to give San Jose a 3-2 lead.

Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff kept a San Jose play alive by keeping the puck in the zone at the left point. Roenick pounced on the loose puck and whipped around at the top of the left circle, sending a shot past Kiprusoff at 6:04 to make it 2-2. Setoguchi, screening Kiprusoff, was initially given credit for the goal but further review found that Setoguchi had not deflected the puck.

Roenick followed with the go-ahead goal from one of his favorite spots, near the low edge of the left circle. San Jose was on a power play when Roenick snapped a shot for the top of the left circle. The errant shot was tapped away from the crease by San Jose’s Craig Rivet. Roenick jumped on the puck and deftly lined the shot behind Kiprusoff from 20 feet out.

“He’s unbelievable,” Thornton said of the 38-year-old Roenick. “He’s a big-time player.”

“He was going to come ready to play,” added Setoguchi of Roenick. “It was a privilege to be out on the ice with him.”

Roenick was equally complementary of the 21-year-old Setoguchi.

“For a young kid showing so much poise, he showed he has the big-game mentality,” Roenick said.

Roenick, who finished with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) also noted the support offered by the Sharks fans.

“This city is so proud of our hockey team. The fans are fantastic.”

San Jose added a pair of goals within a 52-second period to create the 5-2 cushion.

Pavelski delivered his third goal of the series when he turned a spin-and-shoot move from the right flank into a 4-2 San Jose lead at 14:01. The goal caused Calgary coach Mike Keenan to pull Kiprusoff for Curtis Joseph.

As that goal was announced to the crowd, Setoguchi belted a long shot from the top of the left circle that dipped inside the left post at 14:53.

“With a new goalie, we wanted to put shots on net,” said Setoguchi. “I turned, made a quick shot and it went in.”

San Jose went into a strong defensive mode in the third period, allowed nine shots while throwing six at Joseph. Calgary managed one goal, a deflection off Wayne Primeau’s shoulder and past Nabokov at 5:18.

“That’s one small step,” said coach Ron Wilson. “We have a ton of work ahead of us.

I am very proud that our team played its best hockey when it mattered most.”