Sharks-Flames: Time to Turn Up the Heat

Thayne HallyburtonCorrespondent IApril 17, 2008

The San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames resume their series Thursday night and are tied 2 games a piece.

This series was the pre-playoff pick for the best first round match up and is not disappointing thus far.

Both teams feel like they should be up 3 games to 1 at this point as they have each had leads collapse on them.

In game 3 the Sharks built a quick 3-0 lead and chased Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff from the Calgary goal. The Flames then went to work, crawling back into the game and in the last few minutes of the third period, Toronto Maple Leaf castoff, Owen Nolan scored the go-ahead goal to give the Flames the win.

In game 4 the Flames took a 2-1 lead into the final 6 minutes, only to see it collapse. Joe Thornton scored with just under 7 seconds remaining on a neat deflection in front of the net to give the Sharks the win and knot the series at 2 games a piece.

This sets the stage for Thursday night as the two teams head back to the shark tank  in California for game 5 of the 7 game series.

Thornton seems to have finally woken up and Jerome Iginla is looking to be in top form in the series.

Thursday night will be important for Kiprusoff who has looked human the last two games and will need to find his 2004 form when he lead the Flames to game 7 of the Stanley Cup final against the Tampa Bay Lightning where they lost.

The Sharks will look to get Cheechoo and Marleau going. Cheechoo was bumped off the first line for game 4 and early reports have him remaining there for game 5.

Pat Marleau and Ryan Clowe have been workhorses thus far for the Sharks while the Flames top players have been Iginla and Phaneuf.

Watch the game tonight on CBC in Canada and VERSUS in the United States.

My Prediction: Calgary wins 3-1