Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Sharks Game 3
|Playoff Record: 0-2
Last Game: 2-3 OT/L vs San Jose (MAY.03.13)
Season Series: 0-2-1
Playoff Series: Trail 0-2
|Playoff Record: 2-0
Last Game: 3-2 OT/W at Vancouver (MAY.03.13)
Season Series: 3-0-0
Playoff Series: Lead 2-0
The Vancouver Canucks (trail series 0-2) will look for a crucial Game 3 win tonight against the San Jose Sharks as the series shifts to the HP Pavilion.What You Need to Know
- The Canucks are coming off a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss in Game 2 and now face a tremendous uphill climb if they hope to get back into this series and win it. The Canucks squandered a late 2-1 third period lead when Patrick Marleau evened the game with 56 seconds remaining in regulation before ex-Canuck Raffi Torres put the final dagger into their hearts with the OT winner 5:31 into the first extra session.
- Vancouver has lost three straight playoff games dating back to last year and has just one playoff win in their last nine post-season outings dating back to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. They've also lost six straight playoff home games dating back to 2011.
- Canucks F Jordan Schroeder, along with injured D Chris Tanev and G Cory Schneider, were among those that traveled with the team to San Jose. Tanev is still in a walking boot so he's highly doubtful to play. However, there are some who feel that both Schroeder and Schneider could factor into the lineup as early as tonight although that won't be known at least until this morning at the earliest.
- The Sharks are hoping to welcome F Scott Gomez back into the lineup tonight. Gomez has not played since April 23 missing four games in total. The Sharks are still missing D Jason Demers while F Martin Havlat, who was injured in Game 1, is questionable.
- This is the fourth time in Canucks playoff history that they have begun a best-of-seven series with two straight losses. History is clearly not on Vancouver's side as they lost all four of those series and only once managed to avoid a sweep.
- This is the seventh time in Sharks playoff history that they have begun a best-of-seven with two straight wins and only the second time they've managed that feat when the series has started on the road. Out of the previous six times they have jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, they have only squandered that lead to lose a series once – that was back in their 2006 Western Conference Semi-Final series against the Cup-bound Oilers.
- During their run to the Stanley Cup in 2011, the Canucks won four of six games that needed overtime to settle. Since then, Vancouver has lost back-to-back playoff overtime games including Friday's Game 2.
- With Torres' overtime game-winner on Friday, the Sharks have now won seven of their last eight playoff overtime contests. Their lone loss in that run came in Game 5 of the 2011 Western Conference Final series against the Canucks when Kevin Bieksa scored in double overtime at Rogers Arena to propel the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final.
- One of the few bright spots for the Canucks in Game 2 was F Ryan Kesler's two-goal performance which nearly carried Vancouver to victory. For Kesler, the goals snapped a 13-game playoff goal drought he had dating back all the way to Game 5 of the 2011 Western Conference Final against the Sharks.
- Sharks F Patrick Marleau has six goals and nine points in seven career playoff meetings against the Canucks and has scored at least one goal in five of those seven career post-season games against Vancouver.
Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on TSN. Fans in the United States can watch the game on the NBC Sports Network. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- They stick with the process and take it one period at a time. The Canucks weren't wrong when they suggested they felt they played a strong game on Friday and deserved a better result. They might not be able to control the bounces but they can certainly control their work ethic and they need to play with that same fire tonight and focus on being the better team one period at a time. They can't get caught up in thinking about how daunting their task of trying to come back from a 0-2 series deficit is.
- Kesler's Beastmode stays on. Vancouver's hard-nosed centre and most passionate performer very nearly single-handedly willed his team to a Game 2 victory. While the Canucks can't just sit back and hope Kesler can deliver the goods all on his own again, it's no secret their likeliness of winning is greatly enhanced when Kesler is on his game as he was on Friday. The Canucks have an all-time record of 6-3 in playoff games when Kesler scores.
- Bieksa and Edler play like top defencemen. They are supposed to the Canucks' top two blue-liners but they certainly did not look like stud defencemen on Friday night as the pair were caught on the ice for all three of the Sharks goals in Game 2. That can't be the case again in Game 3 as the Canucks have to have confidence that when they put those two out that not only can they help generate offence from the back end but that they are solid in their own end as well.
The Sharks Win If...
- They keep dominating on home ice. Just because the series has changed locations doesn't mean San Jose's run of wins will cease. In fact, considering the Sharks' strong home ice play this season they have to be the odds-on favourite come away with a win tonight. San Jose had one of the league's best home records going 17-2-5 at the Shark Tank with only three losses coming in regulation and/or overtime play.
- They don't give the Canucks any reason for hope. The Sharks know they are in full control of this series but the key for them now is to avoid giving the Canucks any belief that they can mount a comeback. A couple of early goals in Game 3 might just be enough to send the Canucks quietly into the night and, for all intents and purposes, put this series to bed.
- They keep getting clutch third period performances. It's scary for the Sharks to imagine – or, conversely, heartbreaking for the Canucks to do the same – that with perhaps a different bounce here and there in the two respective third periods they've played that this series could potentially be 2-0 for Vancouver. The only thing separating the teams is when the games have been on the line it's the Sharks who have come up with those key scoring plays. Patrick Marleau, in particular, has been a clutch late performer with both of his goals in the series coming late in third periods.
Ones to Watch
The big story in Game 2 may have been Ryan Kesler getting into Beastmode but for the Canucks to have a chance to come back in this series, they'll need Henrik Sedin to enter into Feastmode.
Feast is exactly what Henrik did on the Sharks a couple of seasons ago in the playoffs when he piled up an astounding 12 points (1-11-12) in just five games. He clearly has not managed to have that same impact so far in this series, however, netting just one assist after the first two games.
Henrik, who was Vancouver's leading point-producer (45) and third-leading goal-scorer (11) during the regular season, has just four assists over his last six full games played (not taking Vancouver's regular season finale where he appeared for just 22 seconds into consideration). He has also gone a 11 full games (again, discounting Vancouver's regular season finale) without finding the back of the net. His last goal came almost exactly one month ago back on April 6 in a 5-2 win over the Flames.
After everything that went on with Raffi Torres last year in the post-season with his lengthy suspension for hitting Chicago's Marian Hossa, there were some who were wondering if he could still be an effective player upon his return to the playoffs this year. So far after two games, the answer that is an emphatic 'yes.'
The 31-year-old forward has not only provided a physical presence as expected – his seven hits are second on the team only to Tommy Wingels' 13 – but he's proven also to be able to provide timely goal-scoring much like he did during his time as a Canuck throughout Vancouver's run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. His overtime winner on Friday was the ninth playoff goal of his career and his first career playoff overtime goal.
Torres will look to hammer another nail into his former team's coffin tonight as the series shifts to San Jose for Game 3. It hasn't taken long for Torres to warm up to the Shark Tank. Since joining the Sharks at the trade deadline, he has notched two goals and five points in five home games.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.