Five Takeaways: Flames vs. Sharks
Five key elements from the Flames-Sharks contest
TAKEAWAY ONE: Bursting Babchuk
Babchuk first few weeks in Calgary saw him struggle to find his way but over the past month, he's come alive both in his defensive game and his offensive production. He continued to build upon that growth on Friday night.
At 18:05 of the first period, the Kiev, Ukraine native notched his 10th goal of the season, tying up the game. Carrying the puck into the Sharks zone, he realized Niemi was expecting him to pass it off to one of his teammates. He ripped a shot from over the blueline, tricking the San Jose goaltender who barely reacted to the quick shot.
TAKEAWAY TWO: Early enforcing
Tim Jackman has battled it out more than a few times during his tenure with the Flames but the heavyweight has been quiet on the fighting front lately. His last scrap dates back to Dec. 21st when he took on Jared Boll of the Columbus Blue Jackets. That all changed early in the contest.
Fellow enforcer Ben Eager took exception to a hit Jackman laid on forward Torrey Mitchell and the two dropped the gloves at 2:07 for a lengthy battle by the Flames bench. The fight was a draw, with both players hitting the ice thanks to the momentum of their swings.
Jackman took on Ryan Clowe midway through the middle stanza but was on the receiving end of most of the punches thrown.
His second fight took him out of the game with an upper body injury.
TAKEAWAY THREE: King Kipper
With all four lines rolling for the Sharks, the pressure was on Miikka Kiprusoff. The netminder started his 15th straight game but showed no signs of fatigue as he battled against a hot San Jose club.
He kept his cool all night, allowing two goals on. Both goals he allowed came at close range and were impossible for him to stop. He was big in net, read plays perfectly and was aggressive.
Kiprusoff was particularly impressive in the third period when the Sharks had two straight power plays. Down by a goal, they came on strong but Kiprusoff stood his ground, keeping his team in the lead thanks to his stellar play.
TAKEAWAY FOUR: Solo effort
Niklas Hagman's play has been exceptional since clearing waivers earlier this week and he came up with his biggest play of the season late in the second period.
Taking a back pass from Brendan Morrison at the Sharks blueline, Hagman weaved through a crowd before coming across defenceman Niclas Wallin. Hagman undressed the youngster, dancing easily around him to get alone in front of the net. Niemi attempted to come out of his net cut off the forward but Hagman flipped the puck over his shoulder and into the back of the net.
Hagman had one goal, three shots on net and three hits in 11:56 of ice time.
TAKEAWAY FIVE: OMG
Moss scored the equalizer in the second period, pushing him to 14 goals on the season, with Jokinen earning an assist on the play. Glencross didn't get a helper but played a key role in the goal
Moss' strong play helped quell two aggressive Sharks power plays in the third period. Along with Kostopoulos, he sent two dangerous shots at Niemi.
Overall, the trio had nine shots on net, two points and a +4 rating.