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Nabokov lifts Sharks to huge win

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Calgary , AB (Sports Network) - Evgeni Nabokov made 34 saves for his third shutout of the 2004 playoffs, leading the San Jose Sharks to a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals at the Saddledome. Alexander Korolyuk finished with two goals and an assist for the Sharks , who bounced back after losing the first two games of the series in San Jose. Vincent Damphousse also scored in the victory.

The Flames , who were shut out for the first time this playoff season, still lead the best-of-seven series two games to one. Calgary , which is 7-2 on the road in the post-season, fell to 3-4 on home ice.

Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday in Calgary .

"It's mission accomplished for the first game and now we have to go back to work on Sunday," said Damphousse.

Miikka Kiprusoff played well in net for the Flames and finished with 21 saves in defeat.

The Sharks were holding on to a tenuous 1-0 lead late in the third period and Nabokov made save after save to keep his team in front.

"We knew we needed some solid goaltending," Sharks head coach Ron Wilson said. "Nabby came up huge."

After Nabokov stopped shots by Jarome Iginla from the slot and Rhett Warrener from the point, the Sharks scored an insurance goal.

Korolyuk raced out on a breakaway, made a move to his backhand and beat Kiprusoff to the glove side with 1:50 remaining.

Calgary pulled Kiprusoff for an extra attacker and Korolyuk scored again into the empty net in the final minute.

"Everybody's kind of shoveled dirt on us," said Wilson. "We just had to -- at that point there's nothing to lose -- just go play. We're still in that boat."

The Sharks scored the first goal of the game at 7:31 of the second period. Korolyuk held the puck in the Calgary zone and drew a defender toward him, but waited long enough to feed a streaking Damphousse, who moved into the right circle and backhanded a shot past a screened Kiprusoff.

Damphousse's sixth of the 2004 playoffs, and the 40th of his post-season career, gave San Jose a lead for the first time in the series.

"First goal," said Flames head coach Darryl Sutter about the difference in the game. "I think that's the way it was going, the way both goalies were [playing]."

Calgary was given a power play a few minutes later when Damphousse went off for elbowing. The Flames had plenty of chances, but Nabokov stopped four shots, including three by Iginla.

San Jose nearly took a two-goal lead with just over two minutes left in the second period, but Kiprusoff made a big save on a point-blank chance by Scott Hannan from the right circle.

Nabokov stopped 10 shots in the second period and turned aside 14 in the third to complete his fourth career playoff shutout.

"Tonight, he was unbelievable, very calm in net," Damphousse added. "We gave him the goals that we needed to win."

The scoreless first period featured a couple of good chances for each team.

Just under four minutes into the game, Kiprusoff stopped a shot by Kyle McLaren and Scott Thornton banged the rebound off the right post.

Iginla had a chance to give Calgary the lead a few minutes later, but his shot from the slot went wide and Nabokov turned aside the rebound chance at the left post.

The Sharks raced into the Calgary zone with a 3-on-2 in the closing seconds of the period, and Korolyuk cut from the left wing to the low left circle and had a backhander stopped by Kiprusoff.

San Jose is trying to rally from an 0-2 series deficit for the first time in franchise history.

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