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The Goods: OT pays

Wednesday, 12.28.2011 / 11:00 PM PT / Features
By Derek Jory
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The Goods: OT pays
Scoring summary
  1 2 3 OT SO
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Christmas in July has met its match: playoffs in December.

When the Northwest Division leading Vancouver Canucks faced off against the Pacific Division leading San Jose Sharks Wednesday night in San Jose, it was full speed ahead for both teams. Much like the 2011 Western Conference Final, the Canucks were a goal better in the end.

The Canucks held a 2-0 lead early in the second period off goals from Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler, but the Sharks bit back with a pair of scores to even the game at 2-2 by the late stages of the middle frame. That’s how the game stood until 3:23 of overtime when Andrew Ebbett tipped a Kevin Bieksa point shot past Antti Niemi for his fourth career game-winning goal.

Ebbett’s third goal in two games not only gives the forward his second career two-game scoring streak, it also helped Vancouver keep some impressive streaks alive. The Canucks have now won four straight regular season
games at the HP Pavilion and are 5-0-1 in their last six games against the Sharks overall.

Those stats are even prettier if you add in Vancouver’s 4-1 Western Conference Final series win from a season ago. The Canucks outscored the Sharks 20-13 in the five game series and near the end, play from both teams defined hard-nosed.

This was just the second meeting of the season between these western rivals and bad blood was closer to clot than flowing in the first 40 minutes. Then, eerily similar to Vancouver’s 4-2 win over Detroit a week ago, the third period was a slugfest with both teams playing for their lives.

“We’re two very good teams that just compete hard and it definitely felt like a playoff atmosphere out there,” said Kesler, who scored his 10th goal of the season and has found
the back of the net in consecutive games.

“It was a pretty intense game,” added Roberto Luongo, after a 33-save performance in his ninth win in his last 11 starts. “There wasn’t a lot of room out there, good skating,
good speed, it was the type of game we like to be involved in and obviously fun to play, especially when you win.”

The Canucks, 48 points in 37 games, move to within two points of the Western Conference leading Chicago Blackhawks, and six ahead of the Sharks for second place.

Only the Boston Bruins have more points, 49, than the Canucks in the Eastern Conference as Vancouver continues to string together impressive performances.

“We knew it was going to be a hard game down here, it’s always rough,” said Alex Edler, who chipped in with a pair of assists. “We found a way in the end though, and that’s
what’s important.

“In these games it’s mostly about hard work and who wins battles, one-on-one battles and things like that.”

No time to soak in this win as the Canucks are in Anaheim to face the Ducks Thursday night.

“We’ve just got to get some rest and prepare the right way for tomorrow,” added Edler. “We know it’s going to be a hard game there too, it always is.”

When saluting a mammoth glove save by Roberto Luongo, LUUUUUUUUUU don't LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Stay classy.
Tweet of the night - “Lay off the screaming woman guys. That's just Niemi everytime the Canucks dump it in. #flashbacks"
-@TheStanchion; if you watched the game on TSN, you know what he's talking about. Too. Much. Screaming.
Tweet of the night II - “So that's where I left that Jock Jams CD well over a decade ago #SJThatsEmbarrassing"
-@KentBaskyNM, taking a shot at some 16-year-old tunes being played in San Jose.
Opening the scoring - If the Canucks score first, odds are good Daniel Sedin did the damage.
Daniel has four first goals this season, he finished with an NHL-high 12 last season.
Best in 2011 - During the 2011 calendar year, no NHL team produced more points than the Canucks.
Vancouver has racked up 114  so far, nine better than the second place Boston Bruins.