Jeremy Roenick didn't come out of semiretirement for just one playoff round.
The veteran San Jose center is only interested in a long run at the Stanley Cup, and he carried the Sharks one step closer Tuesday night.
Roenick had two goals and two assists, including the tying and go-ahead scores midway through the Sharks' four-goal second period in a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 7, finishing their first-round playoff series.
Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for second-seeded San Jose in front of a deafening crowd at the first Game 7 in Shark Tank history. After the Sharks fell behind 2-1 early in the second period, San Jose's formidable talent finally overwhelmed the Flames with four goals in less than nine minutes, chasing goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
The Sharks earned their fourth straight trip to the second round, where they'll face the Pacific Division-rival Dallas Stars.
Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and rookie Devin Setoguchi also scored for the Sharks, who took 41 shots while thoroughly controlling most of the final two periods. Owen Nolan, captain Jarome Iginla and Wayne Primeau scored for the seventh-seeded Flames, who fell apart defensively after forcing Game 7 with a shutout win in Calgary two nights earlier.
The impressive win capped an exhausting two weeks for the Sharks, who fell behind 2-1 in the series before rallying for two improbable late goals in their Game 4 victory. San Jose then gave its worst effort of the series in Game 6, leaving many wondering whether the Sharks had the grit necessary to survive a physical opponent.
Their oldest player had more than enough to stop the Flames.
After 18 NHL seasons without a championship, Roenick was ready to retire to his dream home in Arizona last summer when Sharks general manager Doug Wilson persuaded him to add veteran grit to a team that has lacked it for years. After an outstanding season as a role player that included his 500th career goal, Roenick went scoreless in the first five games against Calgary, and coach Ron Wilson benched him for Game 6.
Instead of blasting his coach, as the gregarious forward might have done earlier in his career, Roenick unloaded on Calgary with arguably the most spectacular playoff performance in San Jose's admittedly short history. Roenick tied the franchise record for points in a playoff game, sparking the Sharks offense with his typically relentless play in the decisive second period.
Kiprusoff couldn't stop the franchise that groomed him for NHL stardom, allowing four goals on 30 shots before Curtis Joseph replaced him late in the second period. San Jose put its formidable depth to full use, rolling four talented lines while racking up 35 shots in the first two periods.
The Flames pulled Joseph for most of the final 3 1/2 minutes, but couldn't add to Primeau's goal early in the third period. They haven't won a playoff series since 2004, when they beat the Sharks in the Western Conference finals on the way to a seven-game Stanley Cup finals loss to Tampa Bay.
San Jose's power play was an awful 4-for-27 in the series' first six games, but Thornton scored his second goal of the series on a pass from Jonathan Cheechoo midway through the first period. Iginla got his own power-play score just 86 seconds later, and Nolan put the Flames ahead early in the second period when defenseman Doug Murray botched his assignment, giving a breakaway to the former Sharks captain.
The Shark Tank was morbidly silent until San Jose's fourth line broke through. Roenick's long, low shot slipped past Setoguchi's screen and through Kiprusoff's legs _ and Roenick then put the Sharks ahead exactly three minutes later, slipping through Calgary's penalty-killers and wiring a remarkable shot into the top corner of the net.
When Pavelski added a rebound goal, the Flames yanked Kiprusoff _ but Setoguchi scored 52 seconds later on Roenick's setup.
Notes:@ Calgary's Mike Keenan coached his NHL-record 10th Game 7, while F Stephane Yelle participated in his 11th, most among active players. ... Nabokov and Nolan shared a long hug at center ice during the post-match handshakes. ... D Kyle McLaren missed his second straight game for San Jose with a groin injury. ... F Marcel Goc was in the Sharks lineup after sitting out first six games. ... Sharks LW Milan Michalek finished the seven-game series without a point.
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