Flames Stun Sharks With Second Road Victory
Flames 4, Sharks 1
Wednesday, May 12, 2004; Page D04
SAN JOSE, May 11 -- The Calgary Flames are leaving the speedy San Jose Sharks in their dust.
Marcus Nilson, Shean Donovan and Ville Nieminen each had a goal and an assist, and the Flames took control of the Western Conference finals with a 4-1 victory over the Sharks in Game 2 on Tuesday night.
Nilson matched the fastest goal in Calgary's postseason history, scoring 20 seconds after the opening faceoff. Nieminen and captain Jarome Iginla clinched the win with third-period goals 44 seconds apart, sending the sixth-seeded Flames back home with an improbable 2-0 series lead over the Pacific Division champions.
Game 3 is Thursday night at the Saddledome, where the Flames are just 3-3 in the playoffs. But thanks to a 7-2 road record that includes three straight wins, they're halfway to their first Stanley Cup finals since 1989, when they won the franchise's only championship.
"We'd be lying if we said this is what we expected, but it's a tremendous bonus," center Craig Conroy said. "This is definitely the most special season I've had, and it just seems like anything can happen now."
Miikka Kiprusoff followed his 49-save performance in the opener with just 17 saves, including a handful of fine stops in the final minutes. With a fast start, puck possession and relentless forechecking -- three of San Jose's hallmarks -- Calgary shocked the sold-out Shark Tank into silence.
Alyn McCauley scored for the Sharks, who lost consecutive games for just the second time since March. After starting the playoffs with seven wins in eight games, San Jose has lost four of its last five, including three straight at home.
Evgeni Nabokov seemed as off-kilter as his teammates, making 16 saves as the Sharks lost in regulation for just the second time in the playoffs.
The Flames scored two goals on their first three shots, immediately putting the Sharks on their heels. San Jose was the NHL's fastest-starting team in the regular season, leading the league in first-period goal differential. But Calgary has seized control of both games in the series, twice taking a 2-0 lead into the second period.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company