After leading his team in scoring and points through the regular season, Joe Thornton had a cold start to the playoffs. His game winning goal with 10 seconds left in the 3rd period might just change all that. Thornton also added an assist to help the San Jose Sharks regain home ice advantage in the series with a 3-2 victory.
Calgary began the game with a furious pace and lots of pressure in San Jose’s end, but it didn’t amount to all that much on the stats board. Though they couldn’t muster any more than 2 shots on goal in the first period, they still came out ahead 1-0 on Jarome Iginla’s 2nd goal of the post season.
The absolute pest of a Shark, Ryane Clowe tied the game at 1-1 with a powerplay goal midway through the 2nd period when he tipped a Patrick Marleau shot around Miikka Kiprusoff.
Calgary answered with just over a minute to play in the 2nd, when Jarome Iginla won a faceoff in San Jose’s end and fed Dion Phaneuf for his 3rd goal of the playoffs.
The Flames managed to hold the 1-goal lead until the 15 minute mark of the 3rd period when Jonathan Cheechoo beat Kipper with a lucky (but effective) shot over the shoulder from a very sharp angle. This goal was the turning point of the game and gave the Sharks all the momentum. They kept pressing, and with a tired Calgary defense pinned in their own end, they got the go-ahead goal with only 10 seconds to play.
It was a crushing defeat for the Calgary Flames (and their fans!) who now head to San Jose tied at 2-2. A 3-1 lead – and home ice advantage – would have meant a different series altogether… but when have the Flames ever taken the easy road?!!
This series promises to be an entertaining one for the remaining 3 games, and I may have to call in sick to watch the rest of the games.
CGY: Iginla A: Langkow, Tanguay
SJS: Clowe A: Marleau, Thornton
CGY: Phaneuf A: Iginla
SJS: Cheechoo A: Pavelski, Setoguchi
SJS: Thornton A: Murray, Clowe