| It was the fourth and final time the Canucks faced the Sharks this season, and just like the Jaws movies, the fourth installment in the series was painful to watch.
“They won every battle tonight,” said a dejected Ryan Kesler after the game. “We didn’t give any effort tonight. It was disappointing.”
The win completed San Jose’s sweep of the season series with the Canucks, as they won all four games.
“We didn’t come to play early on, and that hurt us,” said Kes, who got the team’s only goal, and set a career-best for goals in a season with 11. “We all know we have more to give.”
The Sharks are a team the Canucks will be happy not to see again this season. In all four games combined, the Sharks outscored the Canucks 15-6.
The series, which promised heated goaltending battles with two of the league’s best netminders, failed to deliver it.
Evgeni Nabokov, the only goaltender to have started all of his team’s games this season, dominated his counterpart Roberto Luongo by posting a 4-0-0 record and a 1.51 goals against average over the four games. The Canucks all-star tender finished 0-3-0 with a 3.39 GAA. To be fair, Luongo made his share of unbelievable saves in the series, and those numbers are a reflection of team play as well.
The Canucks, who usually frustrate other teams’ top players with their strong defensive play, couldn’t figure out Joe Thornton, who was an absolute force against Vancouver this season.
Thornton scored at least a point in every game against the Canucks, racking up nine points in total over the four games. Most recently on Thursday night, he picked up three assists: one on every Shark goal.
For the Shark captain, the Canucks are a real feast, and he’s collected 18 percent of his season points total against them.
Meanwhile, the Canucks’ top point getters, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, had trouble against San Jose. They only managed a combined three points over the four games, with Hank getting two goals and Danny getting one assist. When Daniel’s feeding Henrik more than the other way around, you know something weird is going on.
But more importantly, having your two top scorers stifled is no way to collect two points. The Twins had been hot lately, with Danny riding a five-game goal streak and Hank a six-game assist streak, but a quick dip in Shark-infested waters was enough to cool them off.
And as for special teams, the Canucks took more penalties than the Sharks every time they met up this year. Thursday night was no exception, as Vancouver served up seven power plays to San Jose, while they only had two.
So far, San Jose has seemed to be the only team that Vancouver really has trouble with this season. Fortunately, the two won’t be meeting up again during the rest of the season.
And if we meet up in the playoffs, well, I’m sure the coaching staff will have a foolproof plan by then.
3 – assists for Joe Thornton Thursday night, giving him nine points in the season series
6 – hits dished out by Jeff Cowan after returning from injury
6 – consecutive penalties taken by the Canucks in the second and third periods
11 – goals on the season for Ryan Kesler, breaking his career high of 10
24:53 – ice time for Willie Mitchell, leading all skaters
The Canucks simply weren’t able to test Nabokov, and he’s one of the league’s best. Of the 21 shots he faced, very few were difficult to handle.
The forwards spent most of their time chasing Sharks around, and couldn’t spend much time on attack.
The defense was overpowered by top Sharks Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek.
While the Canuck defense can usually shut down the opponent’s big guns, this game just wasn’t a good example of that.
The power play lacked power and the penalty kill lacked kill.
Vancouver only had three minutes on the power play, but one minute of that was a two-man advantage and they failed to generate any healthy chances.
The Canuck penalty kill allowed two power play goals to one of the worst power play teams in the league.