SUN Hockey Pool

Hats off to Nolan

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

The 1980s rock classic Eye of the Tiger was blaring in the Calgary Flames locker-room.

A Peter Puck hat could be found in Owen Nolan's stall.

It was retro night all over the Saddledome, especially on the ice.

Nolan turned back the clock by posting a hat-trick to help pace the Flames to a 5-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks last night.

Not a bad way to welcome your former team, scoring three goals for the first time since October 1999.

"That's a while ago. I was telling the guys I felt like I was 31 again," Nolan said with a laugh. "It was fun tonight.

"It feels good, that's for sure. You know, I've had good opportunities in previous games against Nabby (Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov) and he's always got the better of me. I guess tonight was my night."

The Flames may have also scored a second victory on the evening.

Rising star defenceman Dion Phaneuf is reportedly close to signing a contract extension. TSN said the agents for the third-year NHLer and GM Darryl Sutter only have a few "minor details" to iron out on a deal.

"Like I've said before, guys, it's between Darryl and Donnie (Meehan) and Craig (Oster), my agents, to do all that. That's business that's taken care of off the ice," Phaneuf said. "I'm not going to comment on where they're at. It's between them, and I play the game."

While the future continues to be blindingly bright for Phaneuf, Nolan proved he isn't quite ready to be put out to pasture.

On top of his goals, he won a one-sided fight with Mike Grier and provided key penalty killing to fend off a five-on-three powerplay.

"He was a real leader for us tonight," said head coach Mike Keenan. "He was very vocal on the bench, very strong on the ice in all areas.

"He's an experienced player who steps up in big games and tonight's an example of his leadership."

Trailing by one after the first period thanks to a rare goal by Patrick Marleau, the Flames (26-17-8) roared to life when Nolan and Wayne Primeau scored 22 seconds apart just over six minutes into the middle frame.

Phaneuf's powerplay goal late in the second period and a Nolan shorthanded tally less than a minute into the final period all but sealed the deal. Nolan's third came while diving to grab a rebound chance.

"I was just trying to stay aggressive," said Nolan, with a dozen goals to his name this season. "On the second goal, I was just trying to bait him into throwing it up there (the middle of the ice) and I think he fanned on it. I was lucky enough to reach it and put it in the net.

"On the third one, I knew Tanguay was going to shoot the puck so I just went for the rebound and it was right there."

Late goals by Patrick Rissmiller and Jonathan Cheechoo made the game closer than it really was.

Tomas Plihal also scored for the Sharks (28-16-7).

"Well, you never like to give up a couple of goals late in the game," Keenan said. "It's somewhat of a letdown and lesson learned, you can't let down. But we'll learn from it and take the two points. We probably earned the two points and the sloppy play taints it a little bit."

The Flames return to action Saturday to face Dallas.


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