So they've won again, defied the odds one more time by pulling out yet another overtime victory in this improbable march through the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
However, as remarkable as it was, it's still just one win out of four needed to take this series. Now if the Flames really wanted to get people talking about them, they'd set their sights on tonight's affair (CBC/ESPN, 7:00 p.m. MT).
Could anyone imagine a 2-0 series lead with the Sharks heading back into hostile territory for games three and four? As expected, nobody is giving the Flames any chance to win tonight's game. And that's right where the Flames want them to be.
FLAMES KEYS TO SUCCESS:
If the Flames allow 52 shots again tonight, they're not going to win. Commodore and Montador need to be stronger in their own end in particular.
When the Flames looked the most dangerous Sunday, they were hemming the Sharks in their own end for long periods of time. They need to continue the strong forechecking and wear down the Sharks defence.
These two were shut down and Sunday and likely won't be shut down again unless Calgary can key on the Sharks offensive leaders.
Historically it doesn't look good for a Calgary victory tonight. The team winning game one on the road has a .339 winning percentage (58-113) in game two. That number drops even further when using the Conference Finals exclusively, to .286 (12-30)… However, the team winning game one has a .526 series record overall (90-81) and this improves slightly to .548 in the Conference Finals (23-19)… Specifically looking at the Flames, when they win game one of a series they have a 6-1 series record all-time including a five-series winning streak when this occurs. Calgary's record in game two after winning game one in a best-of-seven is 2-5… When trailing a best-of-seven series one game to none, the Sharks have a 1-5 series record and a 2-4 record in game two… Calgary's only series loss when leading one game to none was in the 1986 Stanley Cup Finals versus Montreal (lost 4-1)… San Jose's only series win when trailing one game to none was in the 1999 Conference Quarter Finals versus St. Louis (won 4-3).
Calgary: Dean McAmmond (back) and Steve Reinprecht (shoulder) are both out for the rest of the season. Denis Gauthier (leg) is out. Matthew Lombardi (concussion) is doubtful. Toni Lydman (concussion) could return this series. Chris Simon (leg) returned last game.
San Jose: Milan Michalek (knee) and Marco Sturm (ankle/leg) are out for the season. Scott Parker (hand) could play if called upon. Scott Thornton (lower body) returned last game.
The Flames played with the lead in game one for 36 minutes and 50 seconds, which is 13 minutes more than Colorado throughout the entire series against San Jose last round (24:13)… The last team to win game one on the road in two consecutive playoff series before the Flames did it on Sunday was the Anaheim Mighty Ducks last season… Historically, the Flames have now won three of four playoff games all-time in San Jose while the Sharks have won three of four in Calgary… When the Flames played the Sharks at the Saddledome back on December 2 it was one of the lowest crowds of all-time at 13,059. Expect a bigger crowd Thursday night… The last Flames regular season win in San Jose was January 3, 2001 by a score of 1-0. They were 0-5-2-0 since that time before Sunday's victory… With Steve Montador's playoff overtime winner Sunday, the Flames set a new franchise high for playoff overtime wins in one playoff season with four. The previous high was three set in 1989 (Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago)... The Sharks were slow starters this season with only two wins in their first 14 games.
"Hopefully we've learned that we can't fight fire with gasoline. We can fight it with fire. Hopefully we'll be a little better for it tomorrow." – Flames head coach and GM Darryl Sutter in an interview following practice yesterday..
"The big adjustment, this team is a lot better than the last two teams we've played. That's the big adjustment. Detroit is better than Vancouver, and San Jose is better than Detroit. It's that simple." – Darryl Sutter on the Sharks.
"You know that you need everybody. I mean, you're not going to be able to shorten your bench to do it. At some point, somebody is going to make a play. Even if you look at the goal yesterday, Jarome and Donovan were out on the ice. Jarome is going to have to play center. That's what we were getting to. Something we talked about before the game, with Lombardi being out, hey, we got guys that are going to have to play out of position. In overtime, there's two right-wingers on the ice when we score. You know, you just talk about everybody being ready for it. You know, I don't think there's a whole lot of talk anyways between overtime or getting ready for overtime. I think most of your players are -- you got 15 minutes to kind of recharge. They don't need coaches giving them a whole lot of advice at that point." – Sutter on what he says to his players just before overtime.
"You seem like a kinder, gentler version of Darryl Sutter. Is that because you like the GM better this time?" – A question overheard from a member of the San Jose media during a Darryl Sutter press conference.