Not since Game 2 against Vancouver in the first round of the playoffs had Calgary scored a First Period goal... Going into the Western Conference Final against San Jose, that was 11 games. That brutal streak was broken, however, in the first game against the Sharks, with the Flames grabbing a 2 goal lead in the first. San Jose struggled back, though, and ultimately sent the game to Overtime by flipping the puck past Miika Kiprusoff in the dying minutes of the Third Period. Undaunted, the Calgary Flames continued to battle hard for the puck. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, defenseman Steve Montador appeared high in the slot, received a sweet pass from Flames Captain Jarome Iginla, and buried the puck stick-side on the Shark goalie. The Calgary Flames had stolen Home Ice Advantage from San Jose, and found themselves with a 1-0 lead in the series.
Everybody knew that Game 2 was a critical one. If the Flames could manage to win, they would effectively have a strangle-hold on the Sharks, bringing a 2-0 lead back to Home Ice. And it didn't take long for them to prove they have what it takes... A mere 20 seconds into the game, Calgary Flame Marcus Nilson let the puck fly toward the Shark's net, only to see it "pinball" off a leg, then a skate, and slide past the goalie! With less than half a minute played, the wind had come out of the Shark's sails, but the storm kept coming. Calgary continued to pressure, putting the puck past Shark netminder Evgeni Nabokov 3 more times to win the game by a score of 4-1. It was only the second time the Shark's have lost a game in Regulation Time these playoffs.
Tomorrow night, the mayhem begins at the Saddledome... The next two games will be played on Calgary Home Ice, and the fans are hungry for victory. If the Flames continue to play as hard as they have been, we could be seeing them advance to the Stanley Cup Finals as early as this Sunday!
Go Flames Go!!!