Flames rally from three down to take 2-1 series lead vs. Sharks

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Owen Nolan scored his first playoff goal in six years, and beat his former team in the process.

Nolan's tally with 3:45 left as the Calgary Flames rallied from a three-goal deficit early in the first period and beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Sunday night. It was his first goal since 2002, when he was a member of the Sharks.

Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Dion Phaneuf also scored for the Flames, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series. Game 4 is Tuesday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

"We're too stubborn in here to give up," Nolan said. "We have a lot of pride. We regrouped and kept pressing."

On the winning goal, Nolan curled out of the corner, and with both Brian Campbell and Joe Thornton screening goalie Evgeni Nabokov, the veteran forward blasted a slap shot into the top corner from the top of the faceoff circle.

"My first thought was look for a defenseman that was open, but then I looked up and didn't think [Nabokov] could see the puck," Nolan said. "And the next thing I knew, it was in the back of the net."

Ryane Clowe, Patrick Marleau and Doug Murray scored in the first 3:33 for San Jose against Miikka Kiprusoff. Veteran backup Curtis Joseph then replaced Kiprusoff and stopped all 22 shots he faced.

Joseph was unbeatable in his first playoff appearance since 2004. No save was bigger than the shoulder stop he made on Clowe from close-in 6 minutes into the third period with the game tied, as the Sharks failed to capitalize on a power play.

"I wanted to try and settle in quickly and just take it as it comes," Joseph said. "When you get called upon, you go."

The Sharks also got a power play at 16:39 of the third when Phaneuf cleared the puck over the glass and got a delay of game penalty. However, San Jose could not solve Joseph.

"At certain times in the game when you get a power-play, we have to bear down and capitalize and we didn't do that," Clowe said. "We got away from our forecheck and got complacent."

Calgary chipped away at its early deficit, getting a goal back later in the first, scoring the lone goal of the second, and finally tying game 1:18 into the third on Phaneuf's second goal of the playoffs.

Although it originally looked like it was deflected by Langkow screening in front, it was instead a sequence of bad luck for Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who was covering Langkow. Phaneuf's shot from the blue line first deflected off Vlasic's skate, then caromed off his stick before trickling behind Nabokov.

"You have to be men to play this sport, not a bunch of boys, and we looked like a bunch of boys out there and they were looking like a bunch of men," Nabokov said.

Calgary began the comeback at 12:54 of the first when defenseman Cory Sarich caught Marleau with his head down and put a shoulder into the Sharks captain that sent him flying into the boards, bloodying both his eye and nose.

In the skirmish that ensued, San Jose was assessed an extra roughing penalty and with the crowd still buzzing about the hit, Calgary needed just 28 seconds to connect on the power-play with Phaneuf's wrist shot deflecting in off Iginla in front.

"It was a big hit, solid contact that seemed to energize our team and ignite our team in terms of emotion," Calgary coach Mike Keenan said.

San Jose coach Ron Wilson disagreed with the officials assessment that it was a clean hit.

"I clearly thought it was an elbow right in the face," Wilson said. "He came out of it with a bloody nose. I mean you got a cut over the eye and I always thought if you came out of those situations with an injury, a clear injury, you're bleeding, that there should be something."

Calgary narrowed the deficit at 10:14 of the second when Langkow struck on the power-play.

At the start of the game, the noise was deafening as fans welcomed the Flames home after splitting the first two games in San Jose. The elation turned to boos 26 seconds in when Calgary's Stephane Yelle was penalized for slashing.

San Jose quickly capitalized, with Clowe taking a pass from Thornton and ripping a 30-foot wrist shot inside the goal post at 1:31. Clowe was at it again less than two minutes later, controlling the puck in the Flames zone and sending a shot toward the net that was steered in by Marleau at 3:19.

The Sharks scored again 14 seconds later when Murray pinched in from the blue line and whipped a shot past Kiprusoff, who was then pulled.

Game notes
Calgary made its first lineup change of the series as Marcus Nilson dressed in place of David Moss. ... Joseph's last playoff appearance was against the Flames on May 3, 2004, while he was with Detroit. Martin Gelinas scored on Joseph in overtime as Calgary won 1-0 to win the series 4-1. ... It was only the third time Kiprusoff has been taken out of a playoff game. Roman Turek played 19:29 in 2004 and Jamie McLennan played 0:18 in 2006. ... NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was at the game.