I'll keep this one short because computer troubles and homework prevented me from actually watching the game.
It's coming to that bittersweet time of year for Flames fans, that time when they can play spoiler and put the final nail in the coffin for some teams, effectively ending the Oilers' season early on Saturday night, and that time when other teams start to punch their tickets to the dance, leaving the Flames in the dust.
Tonight, although it ended in a victory for the Flames, fell into the latter category, as the Sharks clinched their post-season berth by securing one point in a shootout loss to Calgary.
The Sharks looked every bit a team headed to the playoffs in the first period, peppering Karri Ramo with 18 shots in the first 20 minutes of the hockey game compared to just eight by the home team. The Flames could not capitalize on two powerplay opportunities in the first period, but Ramo stood tall against the Sharks' barrage at even-strength, stopping every shot but one as James Sheppard's late goal with less than two minutes remaining in the opening frame put the visitors up 1-0 heading into the intermission.
The second period proved to be a much more favourable one for fans of the home team, as the Flames out-worked the Sharks, limiting them to just four shots on goal and firing 12 at Alex Stalock. Then, late in the second period, Calgary was rewarded for their efforts as Joe Colborne found the back of the net following a sweet pass from Tyler Wotherspoon.
Colborne was very impressed by the play from the rookie defenceman:
"That's an all-star play right there," Colborne said of the pass. "Not too many guys can fake a shot, head up, and find me back door, flat pass through the seam. That was an all-world play."
Wotherspoon has three points in 10 games since being called up by the Flames, and played just under 17 minutes tonight, contributing to a growing body of proof that the 21-year-old is capable of making the jump to the big league. With one assist and two shots in tonight's game, Wotherspoon also had the honour of being named the third star in a low-scoring contest where few players really stood out.
San Jose rallied in the third period, out-shooting the Flames 10-5, but Ramo held them off and the game went to extra time. Shots were even at two a piece in overtime, and a shootout would be needed to solve this one.
After neither team scored through the first two rounds, Mike Cammalleri made up for his scoring streak coming to and end by beating Stalock to give the Flames a 1-0 advantage. Sharks goal-scorer James Sheppard had to repeat in order to extend the shootout for his team, but he couldn't, and the Flames came away with their second consecutive win.
Next up, the Anaheim Ducks look for revenge on Wednesday night at the 'Dome after the Flames defeated them 7-2 back on March 12th.