Still wary of Nabokov

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:48 PM ET


 The Calgary Flames have left a pile of opposition goaltenders on the scrap heap during their playoff rampage.

 They trashed Vancouver's Dan Cloutier, Johan Hedberg and Alex Auld in the opening round before taming Detroit's Curtis Joseph in Round 2.

 But despite early success against the previously rock-solid Evgeni Nabokov, the Flames aren't about to add the Russian 'tender's name to the list just yet.

 "You look at (Marcus Nilson's) first goal, it was a double bouncer," says winger Shean Donovan. "We worked hard for our goals.

 "By no means has he played bad for them and I know he's going to play even better."

 Nabokov surrendered just seven goals over the first two rounds.

 Calgary has lit him up for eight in just two games.

 Even the Shark Tank faithful turned on their puckstopper, sarcastically cheering a Flames dump-in late in Game 2.

 Craig Conroy said Nabokov is still one of the best in the game, adding he isn't getting any bounces.

 "I don't know if we've solved him but we've got some breaks and found ways to score goals," Conroy says. "We watched the previous series and he was unbelievable.

 "He made some great saves (Tuesday) night, too. I thought I chipped one in off (Jarome Iginla's) slapshot but, out of nowhere, he caught it. I almost put my arms up."

 An NHL goaltender rarely lets one or two bad starts affect his psyche. But Flames shooters are feeling confident these days.

 "It gave us confidence that we can score some goals on him," Conroy says. "For us to score two four-goal games is a lot.

 "We expect to win 2-1, 1-0. But it would be great if we could keep this trend going for the next couple of games."

 Winger Ville Nieminen, who potted the insurance goal in Game 2, says he expects to see Nabokov at his best tonight.

 "We just try to shoot the puck and sometimes we were lucky to score," Nieminen says.

 "He's going to regroup. Nabokov is not going to worry about what happened in Game 1 or 2. He'll bounce back and he'll be himself."

 Iginla, who found mesh behind the Sharks 'tender from the top of the circles late in Game 2, says there's no secret to beating the 6-ft., 200-pounder.

 "We know he's a great goalie," Iginla says. "Some people asked if we were all shooting for one side. It's more like a guy looks up (to see where the hole is) and takes the shot.

 "Some of those, we got some good bounces, some we were driving the net and that's what we have to continue doing."

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