Sharks bite right back!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 3:21 PM ET


 CALGARY -- Vinnie Damphousse doesn't get it when the talk turns to pressure.

 "I don't care about pressure," said the former Edmonton Oiler, Montreal Canadien and Toronto Maple Leaf who scored the winner to beat the Calgary Flames 3-0 here last night and at least delay the return of a Canadian franchise to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 10 years.

 "Pressure? Both teams have it. And I don't look at it as a negative. I don't think pressure is a bad thing. I think it's a great thing. I'd rather play at this time of year with pressure than in November with no pressure. When it comes to all the talk about pressure, I don't get it."

 Damphousse admitted that there was a heaping helping of pressure, obvious pressure on the Sharks to win this night.

 "We had to win this game," he said. "You can't go down 3-0 and expect to win a series."

 The reason people kept pressing Damphousse on the subject of pressure was Prof. Ron Wilson's theory that the pressure points changed going into this game.

 "We didn't have anything to prove. The pressure was off," he said after Alexander Korolyuk scored a couple of late goals to turn a 1-0 game into one of those in which the game was much closer than the score would indicate. "Everybody was shovelling dirt on us."

 TALKATIVE COACH

 Wilson actually was finishing off a dissertation he began at the morning skate.

 "The pressure now lies on Calgary. They're representing a whole country in this battle. All of Canada is hoping they can get to the finals, and that's a lot of pressure," he explain in the morning.

 "From our own pressure point of view, it would basically come from within our own room. We're not too concerned about anybody else's expectations but our own now."

 San Jose, after losing the first two games of the series in California, bounced back to put themselves in a position to regain home ice advantage in the series if they win Game 4 here Sunday afternoon.

 The Sharks picked a peculiar point to show up for the series, but Wilson said if you analyse it from a pressure point of view, it makes some sense.

 "We were under the radar all regular season. In the first round of the playoffs, I think a lot of people thought the experience of the St. Louis Blues would beat us with some of the superstars they have on that team. Obviously, Colorado, I don't think outside of our game we were given too much of a chance.

 "But coming into this series, I think there was a kind of a pressure on us and we didn't live up to other people's expectations let alone our own. So now that pressure is kind of gone."

 Wilson came to the rink having done his homework on the subject.

 "We're obviously not the favourite to win the series anymore," he said.

 "I mean, I'm a stats guy. Not that I would compute it, but I've read enough that the chances of winning are now 17%.

 "But," he paused. "There is always a chance. If it's 17% it's better than 0%. Not that I'm saying I like our chances, but obviously it beats the race track. Your odds are never 17% there."

 There are people who crunch these sort of numbers for seven-game series and now that the Sharks have come back to make the series 2-1 for the Flames headed into Game 4 here Sunday afternoon, the Flames are now in a position where .726 of the teams still win the series.

 If they had won last night it would have been a staggering .986.

 STAGGERING STATISTICS

 You get the idea. Statistically, it's not 'Series On!' again. But it's certainly not 'Series Over!' as it would have been if the Flames had won this one.

 There's no suggestion here that the tide turned on Calgary's remarkable run this night.

 When Damphousse scored with a backhand at 7:34 of the second period, it didn't turn all Darryl Sutter's horses back to rats pulling a pumpkin.

 But it did end the number of minutes and seconds of elapsed time since the Flames trailed in a game in these Stanley Cup playoffs to 305 hours and 22 minutes.

 "We had to get the first goal," said Damphousse.

 "Getting the first goal makes things change. It makes them change their style and open up their game."

 Whatever it was, Damphousse said everybody can agree on one thing at the end of the day.

 "It makes things more interesting now," he said.


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