SUN Hockey Pool

Flames dump the Sharks

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

SAN JOSE -- Both teams were struggling to find their offensive touch.

And both had just one win in their last six outings.

Yet it was the Calgary Flames who managed to snap their slump, getting goals from four different players and some great goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff to give them a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks last night at HP Pavilion.

Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr chipped in with a career-high three assists.

Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo scored late goals to give the Flames a scare and make another shootout seem possible after the visitors took a 4-1 lead into the final seven minutes.

Flames defenceman Jordan Leopold expressed relief after the game.

"Hey, we got the win," he said.

"It's tough to win on the road. We made it interesting at the end but we still got two points."

Leopold admits he was a little worried in the dying minutes as the Sharks sought the equalizer.

"I know I was thinking, 'There's no way it's going to happen again.' We weren't going to be denied tonight."

Facing star Joe Thornton for the first time this year, the Flames had to depend on Kiprusoff as San Jose's star acquisition teamed with captain Patrick Marleau to create several scoring opportunities over the first 40 minutes.

The two-man tandem gave the Sharks a lead eight minutes into the game but was stymied by Kiprusoff until the dying minutes when they set up Michalek and Cheechoo.

The Sharks drew first blood 13 seconds into a five-on-three powerplay with both Chuck Kobasew and Regehr serving time for high-sticking penalties. Manning the point, Marleau was the beneficiary of a short but sweet return saucer pass from Thornton that cleared Leopold's outstretched stick.

The Sharks captain slammed his shot from the top of the circle past Kiprusoff on the short side to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

The Flames responded with a powerplay goal of their own late in the period when Daymond Langkow backhanded a rolling puck over a diving Evgeni Nabokov and into the top corner at 17:26.

Kobasew scored the Flames' second powerplay goal of the night early in the second period to give Calgary its first lead of the game. Taking a pass from Kristian Huselius at the side of the Sharks net, Kobasew jammed the puck at Nabokov and eventually slipped the loose puck over the goaltender's outstretched pad on the glove side.

The Flames took a two-goal lead 14:12 into the middle frame after a mistake by Nabokov left an empty cage for Chris Simon to deposit his fourth of the season.

Stephane Yelle stole the puck from the Sharks goaltender behind the net and sent it to a hard-charging Simon.

Matthew Lombardi added a fourth goal -- which proved to be the game-winner -- with a speedy drive to the net.

"We haven't had the greatest offensive output lately," said Leopold, "so putting up a few goals gave us something to work with and play with confidence."

Calgary holds onto its Northwest Division lead by virtue of their game in hand over the Vancouver Canucks, who beat Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4 last night.

The Shark Tank hasn't been a friendly environment for the Flames, who hadn't won in San Jose since 2001.

Calgary hosts the Anaheim Mighty Ducks tomorrow night (7 p.m.).


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