HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif.
Joe Pavelski (SJ) — 1G, 2A
Ryane Clowe (SJ) — 1G, 2A
Logan Couture (SJ) — 1G, 2A
The San Jose Sharks' power play unit got the team off on the right foot on Saturday but it was their second line that gave them a 4-3 victory over the visiting Calgary Flames.
Joe Thornton scored on the man-advantage 1:06 into the game while the Sharks' line of Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture each had a goal and two assists as San Jose (8-5-2) took their third win in four tries.
"Anything to help to the team," Couture told Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Oake after the game. "It just so happened that our line was going tonight, we could have had five or six, but it was good to contribute on a night when the first line didn't really score even strength, so it was good that we stepped up."
Mark Giordano, Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester replied for the Flames (7-9-0), who have lost six of their last seven games.
Iginla's goal with 37 seconds left in the third got the Flames within one but Calgary's late charge couldn't erase their slow start.
"It just seems that same old thing of one or two mistakes is really killing us, costing us games," Giordano said. "We did a lot of good things again, but a big goal here or there gave them momentum."
The Sharks looked like a club that knew their opponents had played the night before as they racked up a 17-5 advantage in shots and a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
Forechecking from the game's first whistle helped the Sharks' get on the board early as Olli Jokinen was whistled for an interference penalty while San Jose swarmed the Calgary zone.
The Sharks continued the pressure with the man-advantage and a cross-ice pass from Jason Demers to Thornton was slapped past Flames' goalie Miikka Kiprusoff for a 1-0 lead just 1:06 in.
Clowe went top shelf for a 2-0 lead at the midway point of the opening period.
Cory Sarich's double-minor penalty for high-sticking didn't help matters for the Flames and increased the workload for the team's best player in the first, Kiprusoff.
It was up to the Calgary netminder to keep his team in the game, and Kiprusoff didn't disappoint, absolutely robbing Pavelski of a sure goal on a rebound chance. Kiprusoff went post-to-post and got his blocker out to deny Pavelski's slapper.
Kiprusoff stopped 31 shots while his counterpart Niemi turned away 28.
The second period started with Dany Heatley already in the penalty box for a boarding call late in the first period, but the Flames caught a break when Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle was whistled for a delay of game just six seconds into the middle frame, handing Calgary a 1:37-long two-man advantage.
Calgary's Giordano slipped the puck under Niemi's pads during that 5-on-3 to cut the San Jose lead in half.
Pavelski scored on his own second-chance in the Calgary slot with 3:38 left in the second period to keep the two-goal cushion heading into the third.
Midway through that period, the Flames again cut the deficit to a single tally when Bouwmeester took a pass from Matt Stajan in the San Jose slot before wristing it past Niemi.
Couture went top-shelf on Kiprusoff with 5:50 remaining to add some insurance, which came in handy when Iginla connected on a one-timer with 37 seconds left and Kiprusoff on the bench for the extra attacker.
"They're both great players, [Pavelski] is an Olympian and Clowe is a big body down low — he protects pucks well and he's good at setting up plays," Couture said. "On my goal he made a terrific pass and I couldn't miss that one."
Kipper trampled under foot
Kiprusoff kept his team steady throughout the game, but especially the second period when he was run over twice in a span of four minutes by errant Sharks. Craig Conroy took a penalty after he helped direct Couture into Kiprusoff's legs while Dany Heatley plowed into the Finnish netminder and was called for goalie interference.
Towards the end of the second, Kiprusoff took Heatley's stick in the mask after he covered up a Patrick Marleau shot.
2, 5, and 10
A Cory Sarich hip check on the Sharks' Jamie McGinn drew the ire of Jamal Mayers, who jumped Sarich and fought himself out of the game with a two-minute instigator, five-minute fighting major and 10-minute misconduct for starting the fisticuffs.