Jokinen’s hat trick lifts Flames to win
Miikka Kiprusoff can thank fellow Finn Olli Jokinen for helping him earn his 300th career NHL win.
Jokinen capitalized on a turnover by Colin White to break a third-period tie with his third goal of the game, and the Calgary Flames beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 Wednesday night.
Jokinen also assisted on Jarome Iginla’s second-period goal to help Kiprusoff reach the milestone and end San Jose’s five-game winning streak in the series.
”It’s a nice number,” Kiprusoff said. ”Right now it’s not that big a deal. It’s nice, but we have a job to do here. We’re fighting for the playoffs, and we need those wins. But, yeah, it’s a good number.”
Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Michal Handzus scored for the Sharks, who have lost consecutive games following a three-game winning streak.
”The formula is pretty simple. We’ve given up four or more goals 12 times this year and have won once,” coach Todd McLellan said. ”If the guys think they can screw around with the puck and be lackadaisical with line changes then we will give up four again and won’t win. That will be addressed (Thursday) and you will see a different team on Friday.”
San Jose overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 before Jokinen gave the Flames the lead for good early in the third period. The winner was set up by a poor clearing attempt by White. He played the puck out from behind the net and it deflected off the boards right to Alex Tanguay, who set up Jokinen for his seventh career hat trick and first since March 14, 2009, at Toronto.
”I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Jokinen said. ”It doesn’t matter who scores the goals. You have to play with the team system, and tonight was my turn to score.”
The Sharks had tied the game minutes earlier when Handzus struck on the power play in the opening minute of the third, following a high-sticking penalty on Mark Giordano.
Handzus beat Blair Jones on the faceoff and went to the front of the net, where he knocked Brent Burns’ rebound off the lively end boards into the net for the equalizer 5 seconds into the power play.
San Jose managed nothing else against Kiprusoff, who made 34 saves to become the 27th NHL goalie to reach 300 wins. He did it in the same building where he got the first of his career, while playing for the Sharks in 2001.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic nearly had the equalizer midway through the third but it was waved off because Patrick Marleau had run into Kiprusoff.
Kiprusoff also made tough stops on Pavelski and Couture in the closing minutes to preserve the win.
”He played outstanding,” Iginla said. ”He made some huge, huge saves. Honestly, it’s the best I’ve seen him. I know he’s won the Vezina before. I don’t know if he’s played any better than this year the whole year. He’s been that good. It’s fun to watch.”
The Sharks appeared to take control by scoring two goals in a span of 1:23 midway through the second period to erase a 2-0 deficit. Couture got San Jose started during a delayed penalty when he beat Kiprusoff with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.
Pavelski, playing his 400th career game, quickly tied it when he slammed home a pass from behind the net by Joe Thornton for his 20th goal.
With San Jose pressuring Kiprusoff later in the period to take the lead, Iginla and Jokinen broke out of the defensive zone on an odd-man rush. Iginla completed a pretty give-and-go to beat Antti Niemi and make it 3-2.
The Flames, who scored one goal in two losses to San Jose last month, broke through against Niemi midway through the first period. After Couture had trouble clearing the puck from the defensive zone, Chris Butler got it near the blue line. He sent a blast toward the net that deflected off Jokinen to make it 1-0.
Jokinen added to the lead early in the second just 15 seconds after Benn Ferriero was sent off for interference in the offensive zone. Tanguay’s point shot deflected off the end boards, past White and right to Jokinen, who knocked it in from the side of the net.
”It’s tough to give away points we need,” Burns said. ”There are parts of the game we need to be better. If you’re not sharp it’s not going to go well for you. When you lose you’re not doing something right.”
NOTES: San Jose D Dan Boyle was scratched because of the flu. … Former Sharks and Flames F Owen Nolan, who announced his retirement on Tuesday, got a lengthy ovation before he dropped the ceremonial first puck. … Calgary D Cory Sarich switched from No. 6 to 65 after his jersey got ripped in a fight with Andrew Desjardins in the second period.