Coming off a shutout victory Saturday over the New York Islanders with Evgeni Nabokov in net, San Jose coach Ron Wilson went back to opening night goaltender Toskala – and the move paid off. Toskala’s only mistake came on Alex Tanguay’s first goal as a Flame with three minutes remaining in the game.
Bernier, Christian Ehrhoff, Milan Michalek, and Mark Smith scored for San Jose (3-0-0). The Sharks continue their Western Canada road swing Thursday night in Edmonton.
Having scored just four goals on the season, Calgary (1-2-0) and its struggling offence take to the road, where the Flames begin a four-game Eastern trip Thursday in Ottawa.
Toskala’s best stop came midway through the second period with the Sharks up 2-0. Jarome Iginla neatly set up Daymond Langkow at the side of the net only to have Toskala dive across and rob Langkow of what looked like a sure goal. Langkow broke his stick over the back of the net afterwards in frustration.
With the teams playing four aside, Michalek put the game out of reach, scoring with 37 seconds left in the second period to make it 3-0.
Patrick Marleau broke in alone on Miikka Kiprusoff and after being stopped on his deke attempt, Marleau was able to collect the rebound and slide the puck back in front of the goal where Michalek fired his third of the season just inside the goal post. Marleau finished with three assists.
Calgary had several chances to get back into the game, receiving six consecutive power-plays during one stretch in the second period and into the third. But Calgary couldn’t convert, finishing 1-for-10 with the extra man to extend its season-opening drought to 1-for-25.
As the Flames failed repeatedly to generate any pressure with the extra man, the sell-out crowd of 19,289 at Pengrowth Saddledome soundly booed the power-play unit in the third period.
San Jose took a 1-0 lead with 15 seconds left in the first period on Ehrhoff’s power-play goal.
Joe Thornton took a pass from Marleau and streaked across the front of the Flames net drawing defenceman Robyn Regehr out of position and leaving the front of the net vacant for Ehrhoff, who took Thornton’s drop pass and beat Kiprusoff with a wrist shot.
The Sharks opened up a 2-0 advantage 1:21 into the second period. From behind the Flames net, Roman Hamrlik bounced an errant pass off the skate of San Jose player and the puck caromed towards the side of the net where Bernier jammed in the loose puck.
San Jose finished 2-for-5 with the extra man.
Notes – San Jose placed LW Mark Bell (groin) on injured reserve prior to the game and activated LW Ryan Clowe, who had been out with a foot injury. . . . Smith took Bell’s spot on the top line alongside Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo. Smith saw some time in that spot during last year’s playoffs. . . . Cheechoo’ has no goals in the Sharks first three games. Only once last season after Thornton’s acquisition in November did Cheechoo go three games without scoring (Mar. 26-30). . . . Following in the footsteps of the green hard hat from 2003-04 and the gold hard hat last season, the Flames players this season are awarding a red tacky tie after each win to the unsung hero. Jeff Friesen was the inaugural winner on Saturday night.