The Canucks have played the role of comeback kids quite successfully in the early going this season. On Thursday, however, that game plan failed on them.
For the third straight outing the Canucks spotted their opponent a multi-goal lead except on this night against San Jose there would be no miracle late surge as Vancouver watched their three-game win streak come to an end in a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Sharks at Rogers Arena.
The loss, which was their second in eight days and their ninth in a row counting regular season and playoffs against their new Pacific Division rival, dropped the Canucks record to 3-2-0 on the season. The Sharks improved to a perfect 4-0-0.
Unlike one week ago at the Shark Tank where Vancouver was thoroughly outplayed by San Jose in a 4-1 loss, Thursday's contest was a much closer affair with the Canucks out-hitting the Sharks 22-18 and San Jose only marginally outshooting Vancouver 29-26.
The biggest difference was the Sharks managed to get timely scoring while the Canucks weren't able to take advantage of the few glorious chances they had against Antti Niemi.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Patrick Marleau staked the Sharks out to a 2-0 lead after the opening frame and, after Mike Santorelli's fourth tally in his last three game cut the deficit to 2-1 at 10:20 of the second stanza, Patrick Marleau restored San Jose's two-goal lead less than two minutes.
Brent Burns added an empty-netter in the dying minutes of the third period to round out the scoring.
Roberto Luongo made 25 saves on 29 shots in the loss while Niemi stopped 25 of 26 shots for the win.
The Canucks look to begin a new win streak on Saturday night when they close out their three-game home stand against Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.
SANTORELLI KEEPS SHINING
One of the few bright spots in Thursday's loss for the Canucks was, once again, newcomer forward Mike Santorelli who managed to extend his goal streak to a career-high three games with second period tally. Santorelli finished the night with 23:42 of ice-time – the most among all skaters on both sides. Vancouver defenceman Jason Garrison had the next highest ice-time among all players in the game with 23 minutes.
STREAKS AND SNAPS
Santorelli wasn't the only Canuck who managed to keep a streak alive on Thursday as defenceman Ryan Stanton also extended his point streak to three games with his third assist in his last three outings. Those two were the only Canucks who managed to salvage streaks on this night. Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Jason Garrison and Alexander Edler all saw multi-game point streaks come to an end.
SLOWING THE HERTL
There was plenty of buzz prior to Thursday's game surrounding Sharks' rookie Tomas Hertl and rightfully so. The 19-year-old Hertl was coming off a four-goal performance on Tuesday against the Rangers including scoring a highlight-reel, between-the-legs goal to cap off that performance. There was little talk about Hertl after tonight's game, however, as the youngster failed to record a point in a game for the first time in his young NHL career. His most memorable play this evening came late in the second period when he was nearly run over by Canucks D-man Alexander Edler who nailed him near the Vancouver bench with a hit that jarred his helmet off.
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