Terrible Start Ends With Awesome Win for the Flames

The home town was ready, the Flames were ready, everyone was ready, except for Kiprusoff and the penalty parade. San Jose scored 3 goals within a span of three and a half minutes, and outshot the Flames 8-4 in the first period in a game that seemed to take a twist for the worse. Flames seemed to lack the 3D’s (determination, defense and discipline) as the Shark’s first goal was scored on the power play 25 seconds into the game with Yelle being penalized for slashing.

Although some would say the weak calls had started early, it was the Flames who were not as physical as it had been anticipated and home ice did not seem to make much of a difference. The Sharks, on the other hand, started out quick with an aggressive fore-checking and controlling the puck well. After three consecutive goals, Keenan made goal tending changes with an effort to regroup the team’s spirit so that they could maintain their game plan.

Curtis Joseph replaced Mikka Kipprusoff during the first period. Initially, it seemed that the Flames did not seem to go anywhere until they started playing physical and Sarich’s clean check on Marleau initiated a power play for the Flames. Fortunately, this call ended with a perfect shot by Phaneuf and timely tip in by Captain Iginla who ignited the “Sea of Red”. The first Flame goal created a lot of momentum on ice, but after 20 minutes the Sharks were leading 3-1 as Nabokov’s perfect save on a pass made to Langkow by Huselius, could have brought the Flames to within one goal.

Although the Flames were once again guilty in the 2nd period as Tanguay was penalized for hooking, they were in control of the puck and skillfully killed the penalty to refrain the Sharks from capitalizing on the power play. Phaneuf, Langkow and Conroy created a lot of offense for the Flames, but Nabokov resiliently shut the door until an elbowing penalty called against the Sharks at 9:53 provided Flames with an opportunity to narrow the score by 1. Lombardi was guilty at the critical 2:09 marker, but despite the 17-14 shots in favor of the Sharks, they were unable to score on the power play marker and the score remained 3-2 for the Sharks after 40 minutes of play.

With the “C of Red” chanting Go Flames Go, the Flames had a couple of great chances and became quite physical in the 3rd. Fortunately, the Sharks took a penalty and the Flames were rewarded by Phaneuf’s power play goal that tied the game at 3. The beauty eventually came at the 3:45 marker of the third when Nolan scored the game winning goal which was left unanswered by the Sharks. Although the Flames were guilty of 6 penalties in total and one last minute delay of game penalty, the Flames showed resilience and stuck to their one goal lead with Joseph making a total of 22 saves to keep his team alive. The game that started incredibly finished beautifully.

Flames goals were scored by Iginla (PP). Phaneuf (PP), Langkow and Nolan with 3 minutes left. Next game Tuesday in Calgary 8PM start.