Calgary won 4-2 (Game 5 of 6)

Calgary won 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, May 9th
Game 2: Tuesday, May 11th
Game 3: Thursday, May 13th
Game 4: Sunday, May 16th
Game 5: Monday, May 17th
Game 6: Wednesday, May 19th

Flames 3


Sharks 0


10:00 PM ET, May 17, 2004

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
CGY 2 1 03
SJ 0 0 00

J. Iginla (Flames - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Regehr (Flames - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

M. Kiprusoff (Flames - G): Saves: 19, Save Pct.: 1.000

Road team has set tone in series news services

CALGARY, Alberta -- Mike Rathje was motivated by his black eye. Patrick Marleau got a boost from Wayne Gretzky. Evgeni Nabokov needed no extra incentive to be his best.

So the San Jose Sharks followed their leaders, and they evened up the Western Conference finals.

Rathje, Marleau and Vincent Damphousse each had a goal and an assist in the Sharks' 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 4 Sunday, tying this unpredictable series at two road victories apiece.

The Sharks got no time to enjoy their victory: Game 5 is tonight back in San Jose, where they've lost three straight playoff games. But Nabokov hoped the compressed schedule would allow the Sharks to retain some of their good vibes from two straight victories in Calgary.

"We can say right now that we do have momentum, but we all know how that can change," Nabokov said. "If you're not prepared, if you're not working hard for even two minutes, it's gone. We've been waiting all year for the playoffs, though. We're ready to play our best."

Rathje, still sporting a nasty shiner after a fight with Chris Simon in Game 3, got the Sharks' first goal on a long slap shot that somehow missed Miikka Kiprusoff's glove. Rathje acknowledged the goal felt particularly special with Simon's antics still fresh in his mind.

This is the playoffs, and that kind of [goonery], it doesn't work," Rathje said. "We've had adversity all year, and we've kept going. That's not going to stop us."

Marleau snapped his seven-game goal-scoring slump late in the second period, and his scoring pass to Damphousse -- using the shaft of his stick to make a pass behind him -- was the highlight of the game. A day after Gretzky selected him to Team Canada for the World Cup of Hockey, Marleau had his best outing of the series.

"It's definitely a boost of confidence, seeing your name up there with all those guys," Marleau said.

Game 6 is back in Calgary on Wednesday night.

Jarome Iginla and Simon scored for the Flames, who lost their composure and defensive focus in the second period. Miikka Kiprusoff, the Flames' playoff savior in the early rounds and in a 49-save performance in Game 1, made just 12 saves and allowed two terrible goals before giving way to Roman Turek in the third period.

But the Flames have been here before: Their previous two playoff series against Vancouver and Detroit also were tied heading into Game 5, and the young team handled the pressure splendidly.

"This one is behind us," Iginla said. "It's a best-of-three series now, and we've won both of our best-of-threes this season. We've always found a way to get out of this, and we'll try to do it again."

Calgary returned home four days ago with a two-game lead and an excellent shot at the franchise's first trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 15 years. But the Sharks gutted out a 3-0 victory in Game 3 -- and just as San Jose came unraveled in Game 2, the Flames lost it in Game 4.

"This game, to me, is a mirror of Game 2," Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said. "[We have] the same concerns they had with their weak goals and defensive turnovers."

Nabokov allowed just two goals in Calgary after yielding eight in the first two games of San Jose's first trip to the conference finals. He was nearly perfect in Game 4, allowing only Iginla's deflection goal off a San Jose defenseman and Simon's score during a two-man advantage with 39.7 seconds left.

The team that has scored first has won each game in this series.

WHO'S HOT: San Jose: C Vincent Damphousse has scored a goal in seven of his last 10 games. Calgary: RW Jarome Iginla, who scored once Sunday, has three goals and four assists in his last eight games; LW Martin Gelinas has five goals and four assists in his last 12 games.

WHO'S NOT: San Jose: RW Nils Ekman has two assists in 14 playoff games. Calgary: RW Chris Clark has one assist in his last 11 games.

STREAKS: The Flames have won three straight and seven of their last eight road playoff games.

HISTORY: The Sharks are two wins from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time; the Flames are two wins from their first appearance since winning the 1989 championship.

LEADERS: San Jose - C Patrick Marleau, eight goals; RW Nikos Dimitrakos, eight assists; C Damphousse, 14 points. Calgary - RW Jarome Iginla, eight goals; C Craig Conroy, eight assists; Iginla, 15 points.

INJURIES: San Jose - RW Marco Sturm (ankle). Calgary - C Steven Reinprecht (shoulder); D Denis Gauthier (knee); LW Dean McAmmond (back); D Toni Lydman (upper body); Matthew Lombardi (concussion).concussion.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.