Flames, Sharks Tie In Japan

Mike Ricci scored from the faceoff circle with 2:18 left in regulation to give the San Jose Sharks a 3-3 tie with the Calgary Flames in their season opener Saturday.

Calgary had the best chances

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in overtime, with Theoren Fleury firing a long shot into San Jose goalie Mike Vernon in the opening seconds and also coming up empty on a close-range chance with 30 seconds left.

San Jose opened the scoring 16 minutes into the game when Joe Murphy, who had hit the post with a long shot on an earlier power play, put in a rebound off a shot by Marco Sturm. This time, the Sharks had enjoyed a man advantage for more than three minutes, thanks to penalties on Fleury for high-sticking and Todd Simpson for roughing.

But the lead lasted only 26 seconds as Calgary charged down the ice and Jason Wiemer deflected in a sharp pass from Dave Roche.

The Flames went ahead 2-1 seven minutes into the second period when Valeri Bure flipped the puck past Vernon from a goalmouth scramble. The San Jose defense had trouble finding the puck, then couldn't clear it.

Murphy had a chance to tie it on a power play 2½ minutes later, but his blast from the circle hit the post again. Calgary goalie Ken Wregget also stopped Murphy on an unguarded shot from close range earlier in the period.

San Jose scored the equalizer at 6:14 of the third. With a pack of Sharks pressing in on Wregget, Mike Rathje put the puck in.

But Calgary came right back again. One second after the end of a penalty to San Jose's Bill Houlder for slashing, Andrew Cassels curled around from behind the net to make it 3-2 at 9:44.

And again San Jose equalized, with Ricci scoring off assists from Stephane Matteau and Scott Hannan.

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