San Jose trails for first time this postseason
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks had a franchise playoff record 52 shots, held Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla without one in regulation and still lost Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
"I'm not disappointed in anything other than the result," coach Ron Wilson said after Sunday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Flames.
For most of the game, the Sharks were the more aggressive team, creating chances and pressuring the Flames relentlessly.
But after trailing for only 21 minutes in the previous round against the Colorado Avalanche, San Jose was never able to play with a lead because of the stellar play of a former teammate.
Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, acquired from San Jose earlier this season for a second-round draft pick, was up to the task against his former team.
He turned away 18 shots in the first period, as the Flames built a 2-0 lead, and stood tall with 12 saves in overtime to let Calgary take advantage of a bad line change to score the winner.
"I thought we carried the play most of the night," Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan said. "Kipper kept them in the game in the beginning. He made some big saves on some shots in close early in the game."
For the first time this postseason, the Sharks will be playing from behind. They won the first two games against St. Louis in the opening round on their way to a 4-1 series win and went ahead of Colorado 3-0 before holding on to win in six games.
Now, they've lost home-ice advantage in the series and need a win in Game 2 on Tuesday night to even things up before the series shifts to Calgary.
"It's only Game 1. We're definitely not in panic mode," defenseman Scott Thornton said. "We're happy with a lot of what we did."
But there were some key mistakes that hurt the Sharks, starting with a blown two-man advantage for two minutes in the first period.
With a chance to tie it at 1 or even take the lead, the Sharks were unable to get a good scoring chance against Kiprusoff.
"It wasn't very good," Wilson said. "I think each guy wanted to be the one who scored the goal, and we didn't really do what we practiced. ... That's something that we'll work on. We were taking the puck to the middle, and we weren't passing the puck. It was a little bit too much individual effort."
Flames coach Darryl Sutter called that the "turning point" of the game. A turnover late in the period led to Craig Conroy's first of two goals and a 2-0 Calgary lead.
But the Sharks fought back with goals by Mike Ricci and Todd Harvey in the second period. After San Jose fell behind again midway through the third, Alex Korolyuk tied it with a shot that floated over the left shoulder of a screened Kiprusoff.
That appeared to give the Sharks the momentum, and they carried the play in overtime until the end, when Iginla set up Steve Montador for the winning goal.
"We had some opportunities, but we didn't capitalize," Ricci said. "We have to bear down and play better defense. Obviously, our line made a bad change on that last goal.
"We're going to be frustrated tonight. We need to get back to work and fix what's wrong."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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