Facing elimination in the first round of the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row, the Calgary Flames came out and earned themselves a 7th game with a 2-0 shutout of the San Jose Sharks.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 21 saves for his 6th career playoff shutout, and Owen Nolan and Daymond Langkow scored for the Flames who will head south to California to battle for a spot in round 2 of the playoffs.
The question of secondary scoring and ‘character’ players still lingers for the Flames, but several players came up with big games tonight. The most notable performance was Matthew Lombardi, who harassed the Sharks with his speed all game and had a great scoring chance halfway through the 3rd period. He also blocked a key shot late in the game, and it was obvious that it stung him. Lombardi stayed on and continued to grit it out till the Flames could clear the zone and get a line change. When he made it to the bench, Lombardi was peppered with hi-fives and cheers from his teammates.
Much discussion has surrounded San Jose Head Coach Doug Wilson and his constant line changing. But Calgary coach Mike Keenan also mixed up his lines tonight. Jim Vandermeer was used almost exclusively as a forward during the game, and he did well with it, causing trouble in front of the Sharks net whenever he was in the offensive zone.
The difference between San Jose and Calgary tonight was heart. This type of play will need to continue on Tuesday night when the Sharks and Flames meet for game 7. Jarome Iginla said it perfectly in the post-game interviews, “We’re going to need the same type of effort and be more determined. They’re going to be desperate like we were tonight and both teams are facing it now.”
CGY: Owen Nolan A: Huselius, Regehr
CGY: Langkow A: Tanguay, Eriksson
Game Highlights: Click to Play