Iginla, Flames Are on Verge Of Cup Finals
Wednesday, May 19, 2004; Page D03
SAN JOSE -- Jarome Iginla is growing into his outsized talents in the playoffs -- and he's doing most of his developing on the road for the Calgary Flames.
Iginla took the NHL playoff scoring lead with an early short-handed goal, and Miikka Kiprusoff got his fourth shutout of the playoffs in the Flames' 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Monday night.
Marcus Nilson and Craig Conroy also scored to help the Flames take a 3-2 lead in the series, which could end Wednesday night at the Saddledome -- if Calgary can become the first home team to win in the series.
Whether it was physical superiority or simply a mental edge, Iginla seemed to have an extra stride on all the Sharks. He scored with impressive ease: intercepting a pass, outskating two Sharks and slipping the puck under Evgeni Nabokov for the game's first score 61/2 minutes in.
He scarcely let up for the rest of the night, shepherding the Flames to a dominant victory. Iginla, fresh off his selection to Canada's roster for the World Cup of Hockey, is leading in word and deed during the Flames' amazing postseason.
"I thought right from the drop of the puck, my legs were moving better," Iginla said. "Line after line, we were pushing. We were able to find that intensity we didn't have earlier in the series."
With their eighth road victory of the postseason, the Flames are closing in on the NHL record of 10 road playoff wins, set by the New Jersey Devils in 1995 and 2000. What's more, they're doing it in style -- dominating the Sharks for the second straight time in San Jose while rebounding from consecutive losses in Calgary.
Maybe the Flames' white jerseys just fit better. Maybe they burn boos for fuel. Maybe they love the silence of a building full of disheartened fans.
For whatever reason, the Flames are thoroughly enjoying the comforts of road.
"It's definitely different, what we're doing this year [on the road]," said Iginla, who has 16 postseason points. "I can't put my finger on why it's working out this way. I don't think anybody can. It's kind of fun, though."
In Game 6, the Sharks will face elimination for the first time in the postseason.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company