“Hits and Misses” for Sharks at Flames 2/25/11

Result:  SHARKS 4, Flames 3  {Shootout}

San Jose Sharks Ryane Clowe celebrates his game-winning shootout goal with teammates. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Ryane Clowe – After unfairly being assessed a four-minute double minor penalty towards the end of the second period on a questionable call {which will be commented on in the “miss” section}, Clowe epitomized the term “redemption” tonight as it was his 18th goal of the season at 17:26 of the third period that tied the game at 3-3.  The goal came as the result of the Sharks aggressive forecheck in the Flames zone as Dany Heatley used his body to keep in the puck in the zone, got the puck over to Patrick Marleau, who passed the puck to a cutting Clowe in the slot and Clowe ripped a laser-beam pass Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff.  After a scoreless overtime and on the Sharks third attempt in the shootout, Clowe scored the game-winner as he went to his signature move, deked his backhand shot {fooling Kiprusoff and everyone in the arena}, and pulled the puck back to his forehand to put the puck in the net.

Antti Niemi – Niemi was once again solid in net for the Sharks, sans the second goal of the game scored by the Flames, which even Niemi would say was a soft one.  Niemi stopped 21 out of 24 shots in his 18th consecutive start in net for the Sharks, during which, Niemi has compiled  a record of 14-2-1.

Devin Setoguchi – Setoguchi continued his hot scoring streak as he gave the Sharks an early 1-0 lead with his 18th goal of the season at 3:34 of the first period.  The goal came as the result of a turnover in the Flames zone. Both Logan Couture, who assisted on the goal, and Joe Thornton sealed the boards off as Flames defensemen Cory Sarich attempted to pass the puck out from behind his own net.  Couture stole the puck and passed the puck out to Setoguchi, who was crashing the net.  Kiprusoff stopped Setoguchi’s initial shot but Setoguchi followed up his shot, got the rebound and put the puck in the net.  The goal was Setoguchi’s second in 12-career games against the Flames.

Kyle Wellwood – Wellwood would give the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 9:37 of the second period with his third goal of the season.  After a Flames turnover in the neutral zone, Sharks forward Joe Pavelski skated into the Flames zone with the puck and fired a slapshot from the face-off circle, which was turned away by Kiprusoff. Sharks forward Jamal Mayers picked up the rebound and as he was going behind the Flames net, centered the puck out towards Wellwood, who put the puck in the net.

Ben Eager – Eager gets a “hit” for his scrap with Flames forward Tim Jackman at 2:07 of the first period.  Eager could sense the Sharks weren’t skating on all cylinders in the opening minutes and injected some life into the Sharks as 87-seconds later, Setoguchi scored the games first goal and gave the Sharks an early 1-0 lead.

Penalty Killers – The Penalty Killers once again were flawless, going a perfect two-for-two, including killing off the Clowe four-minute double minor that had 3:18 carry over at the start of the third period.

Sharks Team – Simply put, these are not your father’s Sharks.  This team, playing their third road game in four nights and playing without Dan Boyle, somehow, someway, found a way to win once again.  The Sharks remain in first place of the Pacific Division and are now only two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for second place in the Western Conference standings.  Past Sharks teams have had a tendency to not take responsibility for their play on the ice and look towards the coach or the general manager with body language that read “can you help us or get someone to help us?”  Now, not only has the team learned how to win and not rely sole on their offense but the team is also holding each other accountable for their play on the ice. The results have spoken for themselves.

MISSES

Referees – I do my best to not be a “homer” and criticize the officiating but there was no excuse on God’s green earth for several of the calls tonight.  The first one occurred in the final seconds of the first period as Eager put a shot on net that Kiprusoff did not control and was put in the net by Sharks defensemen Niclas Wallin, who was crashing the net on the play.  However, the goal did not count because the referee, who had a bad view of the play to begin with, did not skate anywhere to improve his vision and blew the play dead as soon as the puck touched Kiprusoff.  Had the referee done his job and got into position, that goal would have won the game for the Sharks in regulation.  As for Kevin Pollack, if his kind is the future of officiating in the NHL, then the fans are going to suffer because the game will be controlled by arrogant jerks who overreact.  Pollack made a questionable holding call on Clowe at 19:17 of the second period that both Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda thought was going against the Flames.  Clowe, who was upset with the call, said something to Pollack, arguing his case and Pollack assessed Clowe another two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Flames Goals – In all honesty, all three Flames goals should not have been scored!  The first Flames goal came 18:05 of the first period and was scored by defensemen Anton Babchuk on a play that should have been stopped at the blue-line. Three Sharks players, including Wellwood and Marc-Edouard Vlasic backed off and allowed Babchuk to enter the zone without any pressure and as a result, Babchuk, who skated to his right and used Vlasic as a screener to hinder Niemi’s view of the puck, fired a wrist-shot going back to his left that beat Niemi.  The second Flames goal was scored by forward David Moss at 15:54 of the second period and was a quick slap-shot that Niemi should have had.  Just 96-seconds later, the Flames got a 3-2 lead as forward Niklas Hagman scored on an awesome individual effort that could have been prevented had Wallin played Hagman instead of looking down at the puck!

Power Play – The Sharks only had two Power Play chances in the game, the first of which came at 4:03 of the third period, and it was clear as crystal to all Sharks fans how vital Boyle is to the Power Play unit as both times with the man advantage, the Sharks were atrocious.

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About Jon Allred

Life long San Jose and Worcester Sharks fan that bleeds teal and black.

Posted on February 25, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reading your blog is always a bright part in my day.I really hope the Sharks get to 1st place on that Western list.Looking forward to reading the next post with a cup of coffee in my hand as usual.This is becoming a wonderful habit for me!:-)

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