The fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome got their money’s worth tonight, but unfortunately the Flames couldn’t send them home happy. After taking a 3-2 lead over the San Jose Sharks into the third period they held off a flurry of offensive action from the visitors only to give up a late goal to Ryan Clowe. After overtime solved nothing, Clowe (have I ever mentioned that I hate that guy?!) scored the only shoot out goal to give the Sharks the extra point.
After the Flames got off to a great start to the game (they had about 4 good scoring chances in the first 2 minutes), Devin Setoguchi opened the scoring to put the Sharks up 1-0 a minute and a half later. Anton Babchuk sent the Flames to the dressing room on a high note after evening the score with less than two minutes left in the first period.
Kyle “the fat one” Wellwood scored for the Sharks halfway through the second to regain the lead, but it was short-lived as David Moss scored about 6 minutes later. The highlight goal of the game came from Niklas Hagman, who took a drop pass from Brendan Morrison, then deked through the San Jose defence and roofed the puck over Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. Here’s the video.
The Flames showed some great offensive moments during the game. Unfortunately, they let up on defense a bit more than they should and they paid the price for it. During the third period, the Flames seemed to want to sit back and defend their one-goal lead, unfortunately the didn’t make it hard enough for the Sharks. Numerous times in the third, Calgary’s forwards were stood-up at the San Jose blue line and gave the puck away. When The Sharks came back the Flames defenders backed up to the top of the circle in their end before challenging. This made for a lot of shots for San Jose’s D-men and it was eventually enough to allow the puck to get past Miikka Kiprusoff for the tying goal.
Despite the shootout loss, kudos need to be given where kudos are due. Three Flames players that played well (other than Kipper, who can be nominated every night) were Mark Giordano, David Moss and Niklas Hagman. All three of them played with the kind of effort that will be necessary to get the Flames into the playoffs. On the offensive end of the ice, Hagman and Moss scored goals, forechecked while killing penalties and did everything they could to put the puck past Niemi. In the Flames end, Giordano was all over the ice, making it hard for San Jose’s top line and scrambling to keep the puck out of the Flames net on multiple occasions.
The Flames lost the shootout, but gained one important point. It still seems like a letdown after they lead for much of the third period, though. The situation is just as tight as ever in the Western Conference and this one point may come back to bite the Flames in 20 games when the end of the regular season arrives.