Canucks 7, Sharks 3
VANCOUVER, B.C. --
The two days between games did nothing for the San Jose Sharks. They did not affect the Vancouver Canucks in any way.
scored off the rush for the second straight game and later completed the Gordie Howe hat trick with a fight and an assist. The Sedins again showed up in a big way with Daniel scoring twice on the power play and Henrik picking up three assists. Chris Higgins
and Dan Hamhuis
also had three-point nights -- and even defenseman Aaron Rome
scored his first career playoff goal.
It all added up to a 7-3 victory Wednesday night against San Jose, which has now lost eight straight games in the Western Conference Finals dating back to 2004. The Canucks scored four goals in the third period to turn a tight game into a rout. Twelve Canucks had at least one point, including three with two points and three with three.
The best-of-seven series shifts to San Jose for Game 3 on Friday. The Sharks are 4-3 in HP Pavilion this postseason. The Canucks have won three straight playoff road games and are 4-2 away from Rogers Arena.
Bieksa broke a 2-2 tie when he scored 12:05 into the second period. Less than six minutes later he won a fight against Patrick Marleau, who also scored for the third straight game. He finally picked up an assist on Higgins' power-play goal 7:56 into the third period that gave the Canucks a 4-2 lead and turned into the game-winning goal.
scored his second power-play goal of the game with 8:19 left to make it 5-2. Henrik Sedin
picked up his second assist on the goal and added his third on Rome's goal with 5:30 left. Mason Raymond
completed the scoring for Vancouver with 3:18 remaining.
Ben Eager, who took two damaging penalties for the Sharks, added a late goal for window dressing.
"They had more battle in their game than we did," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "At this time of the year, when you have more battle and more tenacity to your game, you're going to win."
Bieksa's goal was reminiscent of how he scored in Game 1. He used his speed to get behind the Sharks' defense.
This time Bieksa zipped right past Dan Boyle's blind side and took a gorgeous crossing pass from Higgins in stride to go in for a breakaway. He slowed up and from the right hash mark beat Niemi with a low shot with 7:55 to play in the second period.
Bieksa made a similarly smart rush in Game 1 to score the game-tying goal with 12:58 to play in the third period.
He wasn't done making his mark before the second intermission.
Bieksa chopped at Marleau enough to force the Sharks' winger to drop the gloves first with 2:02 remaining. Bieksa quickly tossed his equipment, then got Marleau's helmet off and proceeded to get in a few good jabs to win the fight and send the Rogers Arena crowd into a frenzy.
"He played a real solid game again at both ends of the rink," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of Bieksa. "His goal was a great passing execution. He's competing really hard and playing really well for us."
Marleau, who hadn't fought since Dec. 20, 2007, may have been trying to change the momentum in the game, but the Sharks were tilting the ice with a few scoring chances at the time. However, 90 seconds after the fight, Eager put the Canucks on the power play when he rammed Daniel Sedin
from behind into the right wing boards to receive a boarding minor.
"The League will do the right thing," Vigneault said when asked about any supplemental discipline against Eager. After the hit, he was so furious that he was standing on the bench yelling at the referee, likely because he wanted Eager to receive more than just a two-minute penalty. Nevertheless, Eager put the Canucks on a power play that carried into the third period.
They didn't score on that one, but they did after Eager went to the box again, this time for tripping at 6:57 of the third period. Raymond set up Higgins for a one-timer from the slot that beat Sharks goalie Antti Niemi.
"Ben Eager's hit started a bit of a frustration level on our team," McLellan said. "We didn't handle it very well. It obviously grew from there."
McLellan said playing from behind is all but impossible against the Canucks.
"You can't chase this team. They're too good," he said. "You've got to play with them or play ahead of them."
You also can't give them seven power-play chances, which is what the Sharks did. Vancouver scored on three of the first four and went 3-for-7 and is 4-for-11 in the two games.
"We've talked about staying disciplined," said Vigneault, whose team gave the Sharks just two power plays, "and that's what we've done throughout the playoffs. We did it again tonight. When their fourth-line player took a run at the NHL's leading scorer, possibly the MVP, we stayed focused. We stayed disciplined.
"Any time this year a team has tried to play us chippier, our power play has always responded. Tonight, at the right time, our power play got us important goals."
The first period was a wildly entertaining back and forth affair with each team scoring a pair of goals before they headed to the dressing rooms. The Sharks scored twice on the power play, including Logan Couture's seventh of the playoffs 2:28 into the game and Marleau's third goal in as many games with 5:58 left that tied the game at 2-2.
San Jose ran its power play to a perfect 3-for-3 in the series with those first-period goals.
The Canucks scored twice in between the two power-play goals.
scored on a one-timer from the high slot after some neat tap passing with Henrik. Dan Hamhuis
' shot was partially blocked and went to Daniel in the high slot. He fed the puck over to Henrik in the left circle, and Henrik fed it right back to Daniel for the one-timer at 9:39.
scored his third goal of the playoffs just 39 seconds later. Christian Ehrhoff
brought the puck in deep down the right wing wall as Torres was winning a position battle in front against Joe Pavelski. Ehrhoff backhanded a pass into the slot and Torres, who had established position by now with a nice push off, tapped it past Niemi to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.
Marleau was awarded the game-tying goal after the officials had to go to video review.
Boyle's shot from the left point banked off the end boards and came out to Joe Thornton on the other side. Thornton quickly sent the puck to the front and Marleau jabbed at it enough to get it to slide through Luongo's legs. The fans cheered thinking Luongo had made the save, but video review confirmed that the puck crossed the goal line after going through his legs.
The Sharks spent most of the first period attempting hard-angle shots from the boards because Luongo has shown he's prone to giving up goals on them. It worked for them on Marleau's goal, but the Sharks got away from that tactic in the second period just as they did in Game 1.
Couture scored the game's first goal by completing a pretty play off a great middle rush with Dany Heatley, who hit the rookie with a pass. Couture made one move and had Luongo swimming. He put the puck in to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
|Three star selections