Playoff hockey comes early in Calgary

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

Welcome to playoff hockey, where one or two mistakes are the entire difference.

Chalk up last night's 2-1 San Jose Sharks victory over the Calgary Flames to two errors on the part of the homeside.

In the first period, defenceman Adrian Aucoin lifts the puck over the glass on a penalty kill, and the Sharks capitalize on the five-on-three.

In the second frame, a centre-ice turnover by Jarome Iginla leads to the winning goal by Jonathan Cheechoo.

With the playoffs two weeks away, the Flames got a taste of how closely matched these outings will be.

"It was a one-goal game," Iginla said, falling on his sword for his mistake that wasn't corrected by the defence.

"Now with playing every second day, we will look at that and try to get a few more shots on net. We moved the puck pretty well and another day, it goes for us. It didn't go today."

After getting the lead, the Sharks went into a defensive shell, which is common during the post-season, but was crucial for THE depleted club from San Jose. Eight regulars were out of the lineup for the visitors.

Flames head coach Mike Keenan said those two breaks were the difference.

"I've never been in favour of games being decided because a player unintentionally shot the puck over the glass," Keenan said. "We held them to 17 shots. It wasn't enough. We didn't elevate the offence of our game enough."

Iginla argued that on another day, the Flames would come out on top.

They were the ones who ground out wins like this during the 2004 Stanley Cup final run, and they would also lose the odd one-goal game.

"They are a good team and they played a good road game," Iginla said.

"They didn't get too many chances. They are a smart team. They know how to stay back. They got the 1-0 lead off a bad break.

"A five-on-three for two minutes, (Joe) Thornton will find somebody and he did.

"I thought they were hanging onto that for a while. A giveaway by myself at centre -- you don't think it's going to come back on you like that. That's what happens in playoff type games. Certain things burn you.

"If we play that way, we will win a lot of games."


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