Flames blank Sharks to open homestand
Kiprusoff makes 27 saves, Bourque continues torrid pace with 2 goals
Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary
Miikka Kiprusoff (CAL) — 27 saves
Rene Bourque (CAL) — 2 goals
Alex Tanguay (CAL) — 2 assists
Alex Tanguay wasn't about to get caught up in the euphoria of one win in an 82-game schedule, so he stated the obvious.
"People are a little nervous about our offence," the Calgary Flames winger said, no doubt referring to a group that includes fans, media, the NHL team's front office and coaching staff.
Tanguay's comments were made shortly after Friday's 6-2 win at Columbus and 48 hours prior to Sunday night's 4-0 victory over Western Conference powerhouse San Jose that soon could have the opposition thinking twice about the Flames being pushovers.
Calgary scored 11 goals in its first six games but put three of its first five shots past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi in the opening nine minutes of Sunday's matchup, chasing the former Chicago Blackhawk on the way to a second consecutive win.
It marked the Flames' fifth win of the season and third in four home starts at the Scotiabank (formerly Pengrowth) Saddledome, where the Flames posted a pedestrian 20-17-4 record a year ago, scoring just 95 goals in 41 regular-season starts.
Calgary improved to 5-3-0 and opened up a two-point lead over idle Colorado (4-4-0) in the Northwest Division. The Avalanche will pay a visit to the Dome Thursday.
Rene Bourque followed up his hat-trick performance against Columbus with two goals to give him a team-leading six on the young campaign. Craig Conroy and captain Jarome Iginla also found the back of the net in a four-goal first period.
"Any time you're scoring you want to have the puck on your stick," said Bourque. "I feel like I can make plays happen right now."
Bourque notched the winning goal at 4:12 of the first period on the Flames' first shot, beating Niemi on a one-timer as Sharks forward Joe Pavelski sat in the penalty box for tripping.
"He's a big, strong guy and when he plays that way and he's very involved in the game emotionally, he wants to be the difference out there," said Calgary coach Brent Sutter of Bourque, whose three game-winning goals tie him for top spot in the NHL with Chicago's Patrick Sharp.
"He finds those areas he can shoot the puck in and he goes to the net and when he's in that mindset, in that groove to do it, he's a very effective player."
Bourque's fifth goal of the season snapped an 0-for-14 funk for Calgary's power-play unit, which sat 27th in the 30-team NHL entering play Sunday after converting just two of its first 31 manpower chances this season for a 6.4 per cent success rate. The Flames finished 1-for-6 on the night.
Tanguay scored Friday and added two assists against the 3-3-1 Sharks to give him points in consecutive games for the first time since February. In 33 games versus San Jose, Tanguay has seven goals and 28 points.
One-time Shark Miikka Kiprusoff earned win No. 13 against his former club, making 27 saves in the Calgary net for his 36th NHL shutout and second this season.
He silenced a San Jose outfit that had prevailed in the first two games of a three-game road trip, including a 6-1 verdict against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
"In the first period, there could have been two pucks on the ice and we wouldn't have had either one of them," said San Jose coach Todd McLellan.
"We were that slow, we were pushed off pucks, we didn't compete along the boards, we weren't playing the way we were supposed to play as far as the system went. Very disappointing."
Niemi was pulled at 8:36 of the second after Conroy redirected a Stefan Meyer pass into an open net to make it 3-0. It was Meyer's first point in 12 NHL contests. Antero Niittymaki stopped 24 of 25 shots in relief of Niemi, who has allowed 14 goals in three-plus starts with San Jose.
Calgary plays the second game of its five-game homestand against Edmonton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT.
Veteran Flames defenceman Steve Staios was a healthy scratch for a second straight game, with newly acquired Brendan Mikkelson again taking his place. The 37-year-old Staios has yet to record a point in four games this season and his minus-3 rating was second-worst on the Calgary roster next to Tim Jackman (minus-4) entering Sunday's action.
The Hamilton native will be looking to draw back in Tuesday against the Oilers, with whom he played for seven-plus seasons from 2001 to 2010.
Pavelski comes up empty
San Jose centre Joe Pavelski was held off the scoresheet Sunday for the fourth time in seven games this season. Little Joe stepped on the Saddledome ice with three goals and five points in his previous two starts, but failed to beat Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff with any of his game-high six shots.
Pavelski, who skated on a line with Ryane Clowe and Devin Setoguchi, remains tied with Big Joe Thornton for the team lead in points with seven. He is also minus-5.
With files from The Canadian Press