<
>

Donovan, Flames triumph in home opener

10/12/2003

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Jamie McLennan is going to enjoy this
win. It's been awhile since he's had one.

Shean Donovan scored the decisive goal early in the third period
and McLennan earned his first win in over 11 months as the Calgary
Flames beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in their home opener Saturday
night.

"Wins didn't come a lot last year for me so this one feels
good," said McLennan, who had gone 0-10-3 during his past 18
appearances, 13 of them starts. McLennan only won twice last year,
both on the road, the last one coming Nov. 5 against the New Jersey
Devils.

"It's something where I set in my mind this summer to come in
this year in good shape and be ready to roll and turn last year's
bad luck into good luck," McLennan said. "Hopefully this is a
step."

With the game tied at 2 after two periods, Donovan put the
Flames ahead 1:38 into the third when he got in behind the Sharks
defense, neatly controlled a bouncing puck at his feet and slapped
a high shot over the glove of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

"It's always exciting when I get a goal, they don't really come
that often," Donovan said.

McLennan made difficult saves off close shots from Marco Sturm
and Mike Ricci. He stopped all nine shots he faced over the final
37 minutes to record his first win in 19 appearances.

He entered the game at 2:43 of the second period when Flames
starter Roman Turek was injured after a collision with Alyn
McCauley in front of the goal. McCauley scored on the play to put
the Sharks ahead 2-1.

As he cut towards the goal from the left wing, McCauley neatly
tucked a shot over Turek and just the under the crossbar before
crashing into the Flames goaltender as he tried to leap over him.

Both Turek and McCauley laid on the ice for several minutes
afterwards, requiring attention from medical staff. Both were
helped off the ice, though McCauley was able to walk with little
help, and neither returned.

"When you come into a situation like the home opener,
everyone's ready, you're all excited, everyone wants to be in the
game so it wasn't that hard," McLennan said about his sudden
entrance into the game. "The team really buckled down and took
control of the game right after that."

Nils Ekman had the other goal for San Jose (0-2-0).

"We seem to lose focus and take some careless penalties and
killing penalties all night really slows down our defense," Sharks
defenseman Mike Rathje.

Chuck Kobasew and Stephane Yelle also scored for Calgary
(1-1-0).

Calgary trailed 2-1 before Yelle tied the game with 8:44 left in
the second when his wraparound shot went in off the skate of San
Jose defenseman Mike Rathje.

Trailing 1-0, San Jose tied it with 1:44 left in the first when
Ekman's seemingly harmless shot from the corner eluded Turek.

Kobasew scored a power-play goal just over five minutes into the
game to open the scoring.

Game notes
The Flames win for the second time in their last seven home
openers. ... San Jose LW Marco Sturm sported a full visor to
protect his broken nose. Sturm was hit by a stray puck Thursday
night in Edmonton while sitting on the bench. ... Calgary made one
lineup change from its opening game inserting LW Oleg Saprykin in
for Krzysztof Oliwa. The Sharks also made one change with
defenseman Tom Preissing making his NHL debut in place of Jim
Fahey.