Roenick contemplated ending his career after disappointing seasons with Los Angeles and Phoenix over the last two years, but the nine-time All-Star felt he had the skills and desire to help the Sharks (4-3-1) contend for the Stanley Cup.
Since signing a one-year, $500,000 contract in the offseason, he’s scored three goals in six games. San Jose is 4-1-1 with Roenick on the ice, and 0-2-0 without him.
Roenick missed two of the team’s previous three games with a right knee injury before returning Saturday and scoring his third goal in San Jose’s 3-0 win over Nashville - the Sharks’ first victory in three home games.
“I feel really strong,” said Roenick, who needed 32 games to reach three goals last season. “The knee didn’t hamper me at all. I just have to watch it because I want to make sure and elevate my game.”
Roenick’s latest tally left him two shy of 500 for his career. Among American-born players, only Dallas’ Mike Modano (508) and retired Joey Mullen (502) have more.
“I could have had 499 too, but I’ll take the one,” Roenick said. “The win was more important. We’ve been struggling at home, and it was good to win here. I want to bring my emotion and I want my energy and excitement for playing to rub off on these guys.”
Goalie Evgeni Nabokov stopped 22 shots Saturday for his 35th career shutout and first this season. He has two shutouts against the Flames, against whom he’s 9-7-0 with two ties and a 2.25 goals-against average in 19 career games.
“We have to keep digging in,” Nabokov said. “We can play better. … Hopefully we can start some streaks now.”
The Sharks won three of four games against the Flames last season, but San Jose is just 1-6-0 with one tie in eight trips to Calgary since 2002-03.
Improving at Pengrowth Saddledome could be a challenge against a Calgary team that had the most home victories in the NHL with 30 last season.
The Flames (4-2-2) opened this season 0-2-1, but have ridden Iginla’s five-game points streak to a 4-0-1 record since then. Iginla, the team’s leading scorer in each of the last six seasons, has five goals and six assists in that stretch.
He scored once and assisted on two other goals in Calgary’s 4-1 victory over Edmonton on Saturday. It was his fourth straight game with at least two points - his longest multi-point streak since a five-game run Feb. 28-March 7, 2002. The Flames are averaging 4.4 goals per game since their slow start.
“We had a good game as a team,” said Iginla, who has four goals and three assists in his last two games against the Sharks. “Right from the start of the game, I thought we were really going.”
Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is 5-4-1 with a 2.59 GAA in 10 career games against the Sharks, but went 1-3-0 with a 3.79 GAA against them last season.