SUN Hockey Pool

Flames eaten alive

Flames coach Brent Sutter reacts after Sharks winger Ryane Clowe scored a goal during second period...

Flames coach Brent Sutter reacts after Sharks winger Ryane Clowe scored a goal during second period action on Monday. (QMI Agency/Tony Avelar)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

SAN JOSE -- Goaltenders Miikka Kiprusoff and Evgeni Nabokov both boasted impressive records following nights off before their head-to-head showdown.

By the end of Monday night's massacre, only one was still on the ice.

And Kiprusoff had probably long checked out mentally and gone to his own personal happy place by the time the San Jose Sharks netted their sixth goal of the evening in a 9-1 win over the Calgary Flames at HP Pavilion.

He had plenty of company.

"It's been a while since I've played that poorly," said defenceman Robyn Regehr.

"I think individually that was one of the worst games I've ever played. I think that could be said for a lot of us out there."

The Flames hit rock-bottom during their season-worst five-game losing streak, with the Sharks punctuating it by handing them their most embarrassing loss of the year.

Yes, that includes the atrocious choke in Chicago early in the season, and the 7-1 thrashing from the Blackhawks at the Saddledome a month later.

This one appeared over before the seven-minute mark.

By then, the Sharks had run up nine shots and a pair of goals, while the Flames had yet to push the puck anywhere near Nabokov.

Joe Pavelski and Manny Malhotra both put pucks through Kiprusoff's wickets with defenders simply waving at the opposition.

Finally responding with their first shot of the game, it was the next one from the Sharks that really leaked blood into the water at the Shark Tank.

Scott Nichol scored his second of the season by chasing his own blocked shot all the way down to the goal-line and lifting the puck into the open side to give both he and teammate Devin Setoguchi their 100th career points, and hand the Sharks an insurmountable 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Insurmountable not because of the Flames' inability to score. They proved a night earlier in Anaheim they could find the back of the net in a 5-4 loss to the Ducks.

It was an impossible deficit to recover from because they didn't show any fight.

"I'm kind of stuck for words. That's obviously very embarrassing," said head coach Brent Sutter. "We just did not come even close here tonight. What else do you say?

"It's disappointing."

With a hungry sellout crowd chanting for free pizza -- given to the fans anytime the Sharks score four or more at home -- the Flames played the role of delivery boys.

Jed Ortmeyer's fifth of the season had the 17,562 in attendance celebrating their future full stomachs.

Flames fans wanted to empty theirs when Kiprusoff bobbled the rebound only to watch the Sharks plugger stuff it into the open net.

Spoiling Kiprusoff's 5-0-1 record in games following McElhinney starts, Dany Heatley and Ryan Clowe piled on late in the second period to ensure Kiprusoff would not come out for the third.

Not that McElhinney fared any better.

Setoguchi embarrassed Regehr in a one-on-one battle, and Rob Blake and Heatley scored later.

Not even Regehr's first goal in 142 games -- a long, seeing-eye slapshot in the third period to end Nabokov's shutout hopes -- could bring a smile to the Flames' faces on a night like that.

"That's about rock bottom. Only place you can go is up from there," said Eric Nystrom, who listened along with teammates as the coach addressed the players for a long time before opening the room.

"It's pride. And we didn't have very much today."

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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