Flames welcome overtime

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:21 PM ET


 SAN JOSE -- For so long, OT meant oh no in the Flames' world.

 Now, it's almost a sure thing.

 No successful playoff run can be complete without overtime success. For the Flames, it's meant the difference in all three series.

 Martin Gelinas was the hero of the first round, thanks to his Game 7 overtime tally.

 Then Marcus Nilson opened the Detroit series with extra time magic, which led to more heroics from Gelinas in the clinching sixth game.

 With Steve Montador's game winner Saturday against the San Jose Sharks, the Flames have won four straight encounters that have reached overtime and are 4-1 this post-season.

 It's a far cry from eight-straight losses, a streak that reached its peak in the triple overtime sixth game against Vancouver.

 "We've played in close games all year long," said Gelinas. "It doesn't mean in overtime we'll win them all but we feel comfortable. We know Kipper is going to make the save when he sees the puck and hopefully we'll get a chance and bury them."

 Certainly Miikka Kiprusoff has held up his end of the bargain when playoff games have gone to extra time.

 The cool-as-a-cucumber netminder has blocked an incredible 43 of 44 overtime shots, an amazing .977 save percentage, in what amounts to nearly one and a half games worth of action.

 "That gets the momentum on your side," Gelinas said. "And you say, 'Let's get it done now. We've got a break, let's make it happen,' no question about it."

 Buoyed with the feeling their goaltender is nearly unbeatable when the extra session begins, the Flames insist they don't change a thing, which is a big reason for their success.

 "It's our style of play that wins us close games," said Robyn Regehr. "The majority of our games are one-goal games and we've been comfortable in that situation.

 "We don't get nervous and don't get frustrated."

 The Flames have won eight of 10 post-season games decided by one goal. Of course, it doesn't hurt that secondary scorers are coming through.

 Anybody taking part in an overtime pool would likely choose Jarome Iginla to do the damage but the fact is the supporting cast is coming through.

 "It's a team effort," Gelinas explained. "We have key people, Iggy's been playing well and Kipper's been playing well but it's a team game and everybody's been chipping in.

 "It was nice to see Steve score that goal, he's a guy that's worked hard and stayed focused all year long. He got his chance in the playoffs with injuries so it was nice to see him score that goal."

 While the subject of overtime is a feel-good story for the Flames, the opposite is the case for San Jose.

 The Sharks are currently on the other side of the spectrum having lost three straight games that reached overtime.

 The main target is goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who's lost three of four overtime matches this spring and has a dismal .786 save percentage.

 Sharks head coach Ron Wilson wanted to hear none of it.

 "He didn't have a chance in the (two games in the) Colorado series," Wilson said. "And last game, he had a guy walking down broadway."


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