SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks had seen this game before, much to their dismay.
For the second time in six weeks, Jarome Iginla received a pass from Dion Phaneuf and scored an overtime goal in San Jose, negating the Sharks’ huge shot advantage and sending their Calgary Flames to a comeback win.
After Phaneuf scored Calgary’s tying goal during a two-man advantage with 49.8 seconds left in regulation, Iginla got the overtime winner with 24.9 seconds to play in the Flames’ 4-3 victory Tuesday night, erasing 57 minutes of hard work by the Sharks with another late flourish.
“We were outplayed, but we found a way to win an ugly game,” Iginla said.
If the finish seemed familiar, that’s because the same thing happened Jan. 3, when the Flames’ two biggest stars put on the same show at the Shark Tank. Iginla, who has 32 career goals against San Jose, scored late in overtime last month to seal Calgary’s 3-2 win despite the Sharks’ 36-20 shot advantage.
Daymond Langkow and Mark Smith also scored for the Flames, who were outshot 43-18 this time. Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made 40 saves to steal what would have been former teammate Evgeni Nabokov’s NHL-best 32nd victory.
“They always make me work hard, but that’s fine,” said Kiprusoff, who rose through the Sharks’ system for four years before getting traded to Calgary in 2003. “Getting two points out of this building is huge. They were shooting a lot, but it’s all good.”
The Sharks’ biggest folly was a delay-of-game penalty by Jonathan Cheechoo, setting up a 6-on-4 advantage when the Flames pulled Kiprusoff late in regulation. Phaneuf scored the tying goal by winding a long shot through traffic, and Iginla then converted a one-timer for his 35th goal.
Cheechoo, who had a hat trick Saturday night, blamed himself after shooting the puck into the stands accidentally with 2:27 to play.
“I was trying to get it off the glass, and I got it too high,” Cheechoo said. “We played pretty well throughout the first two periods. We had a lot of play in their end, and in the last few minutes, they got the puck in our end and took advantage of it.”
Patrick Rissmiller tipped home Mike Grier’s shot for the go-ahead goal with 11:27 left in regulation for the Sharks, who lost for the second time in five games on a six-game homestand. San Jose had 28 shots in the first 29 minutes, but Kiprusoff was his usual solid self.
Marcel Goc and Milan Michalek scored in the second loss to Calgary in two weeks for the Sharks, who played without captain Patrick Marleau for the first time this season because of a groin injury.
“The way we played tonight should have been good enough to win,” Grier said. “It’s not a time for moral victories. We’ve got to find a way to get the two points. We’ve got to make plays. We have to get it straight before the playoffs. We’re too good a team for that to keep happening.”
After Langkow scored his 22nd goal 4:20 in, the Sharks evened it when Kiprusoff whiffed on a stoppable shot by Goc, the defence-oriented German forward who has been benched for seven of the past nine games – but has scored in each of his two appearances.
Smith, the longtime Sharks grinder in his first season with Calgary, got credit for his first goal in 44 games this season when a crush of falling players pushed the puck past Nabokov an instant before the net came off its moorings.
“Don’t put that one on the highlight reel,” Smith said. “I think I got it in with my butt, but any time you get it in is good.”
San Jose remained frustrated until Michalek deked and scored in front on a pass from Craig Rivet during a power play in the final minute of the period.
Notes: After Calgary C Owen Nolan roared past Rivet in the second period to create a breakaway, Rivet redeemed himself by swatting the deflected puck out of mid-air above the crease. … Sharks enforcer Jody Shelley still hasn’t fought for his new team, but he picked up his second assist of the season on Goc’s goal. … Cheechoo got an assist, giving him five points in two games.