Stephane Yelle nearly matched his goal output for the entire season as the Calgary Flames started the Stanley Cup playoffs with a road win over the San Jose Sharks.
After counting just three goals in 74 games all season, Yelle scored twice to lead the Flames to a 3-2 win over the Sharks. Dion Phaneuf also scored, while captain Jarome Iginla set up two goals.
“I thought as a team we were really going from the start,” Iginla told CBC after the win. “That feels really good.”
Ryane Clowe scored both goals for the Sharks, including one late in the third with San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov on the bench for an extra attacker.
“They had a flurry there at the end, but we withstood it,” Iginla said.
Miikka Kiprusoff played well in the net for the Flames as he made 37 saves including a clutch pad save on Joe Thornton early in the third period when the Shark sniper sped ahead of the Calgary defence for a breakaway.
“In the playoffs, he brings it up another level and he loves it,” Iginla said.
Yelle got things started for the Flames when he tipped a point shot by Robyn Regehr past Nabokov at 2:47 of the first.
Just 2-1/2 minutes later, Phaneuf converted a feed from Iginla during a Calgary power play to put Calgary up 2-0.
Patrick Marleau then set up Clowe in the slot for his first goal of the post-season as the Sharks pulled to within a goal.
Yelle notched his second of the game at 16:21 of the second when he swatted a rebound past Nabokov just before Iginla, who was driving hard to the net, knocked the net off its moorings. Both of Yelle’s goals had to be reviewed — his first to see if he knocked out of the air with a high stick — before they were put up on the scoreboard.
The same two teams will face off again for Game 2 tonight at the HP Pavilion on San Jose before the series shifts to the Pengrowth Saddledome for games on Sunday and Tuesday nights (all 8 p.m. MST starts).