CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—The Calgary Flames stared down elimination to earn at least one more playoff game with San Jose. They’ll have to do it again to move past the first round for the first time since their Stanley Cup final run in 2004.
The Flames were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round the last two seasons, each time in six games.
“Everyone was really committed and determined tonight,” Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. “We believed we were going to find a way to win that game and force a Game 7.
“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.”
The decisive match Tuesday night of this Western Conference series will be the first Game 7 the Sharks have hosted in franchise history after playing five on the road.
Sharks coach Ron Wilson said their was no excuses for the lack of urgency that he witnessed from his team.
“Well it’s the seventh game, if you don’t win you’re out. If I have to manufacture desperation, we are in dire straits. Our players know what’s at stake,” Wilson said.
“We just didn’t get to pucks first. We let them dictate the pace of play.”
Playing in front of a raucous home crowd that braved freezing temperatures and snow to get to the Pengrowth Saddledome, the Flames checked San Jose relentlessly along the boards. Kiprusoff was outstanding during the stretches when his team’s scoring chances dried up and the Sharks were pressing.
“The big thing we did tonight was we capitalized on our chances and we were much better in our own zone,” defenseman Robyn Regehr said.
“We know that when (the Sharks) get down they get very aggressive pushing down the wall to keep pucks in, and I thought our wingers really did a great job tonight.”
Calgary held San Jose scoreless on three power-play chances and went 0-for-2 with a man advantage.
Nolan, a former Sharks star, opened the scoring midway through the first period and Langkow made it 2-0 with 57 seconds left in the second.
Langkow took two strides from the boards and beat Evgeni Nabokov with a low wrist shot stick side for his third of the postseason.
Nabokov made 23 saves.
The Sharks mustered some sustained pressure in Calgary’s zone after two scoreless power plays in the second period, but botched a 3-on-1 opportunity with just over three minutes to go.
Michalek hung onto the puck too long and then didn’t get a clean shot away. The Sharks No. 2 scorer during the regular season is pointless in the series.
Kiprusoff’s pad save on Ryane Clowe from close range late in the second and a quick glove on Thornton’s shot through traffic during a Sharks power play early in the second period helped preserve Calgary’s lead heading into the third.
“Kipper made some saves, but we didn’t have enough people hanging around the front of the net paying the price to score,” Wilson said. “They’ve scored a lot of ugly goals in this series. We have to find a way to manufacture a few ourselves.”
Calgary carried the play off the opening faceoff. The Flames outhit the Sharks 13-4 and won almost 70 percent of the faceoffs in the first period. They also outshot San Jose 5-1 in the first five minutes.
“The frustrating part was it wasn’t as if we brought our game and they shut us down. I thought we shut ourselves down. We didn’t do things to create scoring chances,” Clowe said.
A couple big shifts and hard grunt work behind San Jose’s net midway through the opening period set the table for the Flames’ first goal.
Kristian Huselius reclaimed the puck that was getting away from him with deft stick work and he got a backhand shot away. Nolan corralled the rebound and scored low stick side on Nabokov at 11:33 for his second of the series.