Flames Fall To Hapless Sharks 

No Iginla ... No Chance

February 24th, 2002
Rick Charlton

Lowry Conroy Iginla
Niedermayer Drury Clark
Gelinas Yelle Saprykin
Berube Nichol Sloan
Gauthier Boughner
Leopold Regehr
Lydman Montador

No Iginla, no chance.

Calgary Flames fell hard to a grinding San Jose Sharks last night, losing 5-2 as their uber-scorer Iginla was limited to a single assist on seven shots after ringing up four goals the night before in Phoenix.

The Sharks plowed up a rather methodical if not clinical 4-0 lead through two and a half periods of a true bore-fest before the Flames Dave Lowry managed to break the shutout bid of San Jose starter Evegeni Nabakov with a late third period marker.

Scott Nichol also scored late for the Flames while Teemu Selanne led the Sharks with two goals and Matt Bradley, Owen Nolan and Vincent Damphousse contributed singles.

The loss was particularly hard given it marked the return to San Jose of fired Sharks benchboss Darryl Sutter, now behind the bench for Calgary.

Calgary mercifully ends a long stretch of nine of ten games on the road where they managed a record of only 2-5-2-1.

Flames are 19-31-10-4 on the year with 52 points, now 15 points in arrears of the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL's Western Conference if you're still keeping track of that kind of thing.

The real race, as any Flames fan knows, involves movement in the opposite direction, the disgraceful dive to the bottom of the standings, Calgary's season long swoon halted only briefly by their 4-2 win over Phoenix on Sunday night.

Flames competition in infamy, the Buffalo Sabres, crept within three points of the Flames last night, tying Atlanta in doing so, with a 2-2 draw in Florida.

2003 Draft Watch

If the draft was held today ...

Pick Team Player*
1 Buffalo Nikolai Zherdev
2 Atlanta Marc Andre Fleury
3 Carolina Eric Stall
4 Calgary Nathan Horton
5 Columbus Milan Michalek
*ranking: McKeen's 2/13/03

The good news for those praying for the worst result is that the Sabres have three games in hand on the Flames while the Thrashers have four.

Columbus, tied with Calgary in points but ahead of the Flames in wins, was idle on the night. The Blue Jackets also have three games in hand on Calgary.

With numbers like that, the Flames look good to fall into the basement, last overall in a 30 team league and a prime candidate to walk off with the number one pick in next summer's NHL entry draft.

Should fans jump up and down with joy or simply jump off the nearest bridge?

Sharks were two for five on the powerplay, the second straight game the Flames have surrendered two goals while shorthanded. Calgary failed to score on its only man advantage chance.

Flames outshot the Sharks on the night 34-30 but were handicapped by Bradley's early goal, an immensely soft flutterball from the sideboards that Turek plainly whiffed at 4:09 of the first period.

Turek was actually solid from thereon, having little chance on the other Shark markers but by then the route was on.

For San Jose, it was their second straight win after head coach Ron Wilson had vocally accused his charges of being heartless and not a little gutless.

But too little too late as well for the hapless Sharks, a team immensely underachieving and 10 points out of a playoff spot in spite of the win.

These two teams collide again on Saturday night, this time at the Saddledome.

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San Jose Sharks 5
Calgary Flames 2

1 Teemu Selanne - The Finnish Flash of old, streaking through the Flames all night and netting two goals, including one on a late breakaway. 

2 Owen Nolan - Another listless season for a player who could be so much more than he is, but giving the Flames all they could handle on this night with his skill and physical play. 

3 Robyn Regehr - one of the few interested Flames to show up and rewarded with 26:08 in ice time to lead the team.

Nabakov kept the Flames at arms length on a Calgary powerplay in the third period, handling a sharp Craig Conroy backhand on the doorstep of the crease and maintaining a decisive 2-0 Shark edge.

Marco Sturm burst out of his zone and raced down the right boards before being rubbed out with a thundering hit delivered by the equally nimble Regehr.

Steve Montador was caught for the second time in two weeks with his sweater not tied down after a spirited bout with Sharks Matt Bradley. Montador was tossed from the game, leaving the Flames short on the blueline and no doubt leading to a wrathful backlash from Sutter after the game. . . . . . . . Sharks are 4-0-3 in their last seven with Calgary with three more yet to come before the end of the season . . . . . Sutter had praised Steve Begin earlier in the day for his fight with Brad May to open the Phoenix game at the seven second mark, saying it was unexpected and provided the team with a lift. Unfortunately, Begin might have suffered a broken nose when decked by Brad May. . . . . . Mike Rathje led the Sharks with 21:03 in ice time. . . . . . Conroy was 64% in the faceoff circle, leading the Flames to a 54% advantage on the night. Mark Smith was 63% for the Sharks. . . . . . . Jordan Leopold continued to impress with 24:52 in ice time and an even player on an otherwise listless night.


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