Is there a better way to start a five game home stand than with an absolutely dominant performance over one of the NHL’s elite regular season teams? That’s exactly what happened Sunday night as the Flames blew away the San Jose Sharks by a 4-0 score, a game that was over after twenty minutes, and a game that gives Calgary a 5-3 record on the season.
Pure and simple, the Flames came to play and the Sharks didn’t. The Flames had their legs and were using them right from the get-go, and it lead to four first period goals, starting with a Rene Bourque powerplay marker at 4:12. Calgary had forced Joe Pavelski to take a tripping penalty and they capitalized on it in short order. Bourque took a gorgeous Niklas Hagman cross-ice feed and bam, it’s 1-0. A break down lead to a Flames fast break and a gorgeous Alex Tanguay drop pass set Jarome Iginla up for his second of the season at 6:01 before Craig Conroy would convert a Stefan Meyer pass at 8:36 to put the Flames up 3-0. At 11:47, Rene Bourque scored his second of the night (and fifth in two games) again on a nice feed from Tanguay, and this game was over for all intents and purposes. Calgary outshot the Sharks 14-6 in the first period, and dominated in scoring chances as well.
No goals in the final 40 minutes, but I thought they were equally impressive from a Calgary standpoint, because there was never a sniff of a San Jose comeback at any point. The ONLY time the Sharks had any push came in the latter half of the second period, and that’s the only time Miikka Kiprusoff was remotely tested…he made a couple nice saves to ensure the Sharks would have no chance at getting any life.
Miikka Kiprusoff earned his 36th career shutout, and I don’t know if he’s ever had an easier one. Quite honestly, of the 11 scoring chances San Jose, none were really "oh my goodness" chances. He played well and was there when the team needed him. The Flames powerplay went 1-6, but once again it looked really good and really did generate some chances. It’s too bad, because the numbers won’t bear it out, but Calgary’s PP has been much better the last 120 minutes.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they were better, start to finish, and in an emphatic way. What I really liked was mentioned above…the Flames didn’t let the Sharks get a sniff, not even one, and that was very important. It’s a good San Jose team, and if you give them a little traction, who knows what happens. But I know a lot of people compared this game to the early season game in Chicago last season, and the Flames made sure there wasn’t anything like that transpiring. Very impressed with Calgary’s final 40 minutes.
Rene Bourque. I didn’t give it to him on Friday, and clearly he was mad about that…that’s obviously what it was. Without question, he was the best player on the ice, and it just seems everything he does goes in the net. Make it five goals in two games, and even more impressive…three game winning goals in four games. That’s the most ridiculous stat I’ve ever heard.
Sum It Up
To me, one of the most dominating games we’ve seen under Brent Sutter. The only other one that comes to mind is their 5-0 win in Nashville last season, which was also a thrashing. Ten goals in two games isn’t too bad, especially after the offensive woes they suffered earlier this season. It’s easy, again, to write off the opposition, because they were horsesh…garbage. But, Calgary made them look bad too, and they deserved to win this hockey game.