Flames: No way, Jose!

Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi stops a shot by Flames forward Tim Jackman as defencemen Jason Demers...

Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi stops a shot by Flames forward Tim Jackman as defencemen Jason Demers (left) and Justin Braun look on at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., Jan. 17, 2012. (ROBERT GALBRAITH/Reuters)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:35 AM ET

SAN JOSE - The recipe seems pretty simple.

Solid netminding, timely goals, outworking your opponent more often than not and a relentless approach.

It’s what the Calgary Flames do so often at home and not enough of on the road.

Heading into San Jose to kick off a three-game road stretch, they had dropped five straight away from home and won just a pair in their last 12 outings.

Despite winning 10 of their last 12 at the Saddledome thanks to good home cooking, the Flames have had trouble bringing that recipe for success on the road consistently.

They wanted to use that familiar formula from home to cook the Sharks Tuesday night.

“We start with one — it really is just starting with one,” Jarome Iginla said after the morning skate. “San Jose is obviously a good team. They have a lot of energy in this building. We’ve just got to find ways to play similar to (when we’re) at home.

“It’s not an easy place to win in, but it feels good when you do.

“If you win here, it’s a good feeling and a big confidence boost for our road game, which does need to improve.”

It improved.

And the Flames guaranteed themselves a point for taking the Sharks to overtime. They even escaped an apparent sudden death with 3:50 gone on the clock in overtime when the Sharks scored what appeared to be the winner from Justin Braun, but the hosts were denied the OT victory when the referee determined Tommy Wingels interfered with Miikka Kiprusoff.

The confetti was still fluttering in the air when the shootout began.

But it wasn’t to be for the Flames, as the Sharks pulled off the comeback, taking it 2-1 in a shootout thanks to goals from Michal Handzus and Brent Burns.

Iginla knew it wouldn’t be easy.

“They’re good at home. They have a good atmosphere, and they’re a good team. It’s a good combination to have,” Iginla said.

“I find it fun to play in the more energetic, more intense buildings, and this is one of them.”

The place, all 17,562 fans, went crazy. Both for the goal in overtime and for the shootout clincher from Burns.

It was quiet for a while, though, thanks to a solid Flames effort.

Chris Butler slapped a loose puck top-shelf on the glove side in the second period to snap a scoreless draw in the second period, and Kiprusoff kept the hungry hosts from feasting on their offensive opportunities almost to the end.

Kiprusoff had help from his posts. Twice, the Sharks clanged shots off the iron in the first period.

With Curtis Glencross in the box for tripping, Joe Pavelski made a patient play around Kiprusoff but nailed the crossbar after settling the rolling puck.

But the Sharks had more trouble with the Flames netminder, who was his usual stingy self between the pipes.

Particularly good during a second-period blitz that saw Handzus rip a sharp shot at him and then Jamie McGinn pouncing on a rebound, Kiprusoff reminded the frenzied locals what they have been missing out on since Darryl Sutter swiped him for a second-round pick almost a decade ago.

A more recent move looked like it would break out in a big way Tuesday. Iginla and linemate Michael Cammalleri were a dangerous duo, and their centre, Mikael Backlund, seems to be gaining confidence with each game.

Iginla and Backlund drew the assists on the Butler blast, but Cammalleri might have been the hardest-working Flames player in the loss.

Iginla nearly added a goal himself on a pretty rush with Cammalleri and defenceman T.J. Brodie, but the blueliner’s pass to the captain in the crease banked the wrong way off his skates and stayed out of the net.

But the Sharks bit back in the third period, with grinder Torrey Mitchell pouncing on a loose puck during a scramble and pushing it in past Kiprusoff’s outstretched pad. The tying goal force OT and eventually a shootout, where the hosts prevailed.

They’ll try it again Thursday in Los Angeles against Sutter and the Kings.

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane


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