Canucks 6, Sharks 1
The Vancouver Canucks went into Friday night’s game against San
Jose focused on shutting down the Sharks’ top scorers.
Offense from all four of their lines was a nice by-product.
Raffi Torres and Mikael Samuelsson scored 1:48 apart early in
the second period, and Samuelsson added another goal in the third
as the Canucks took advantage of several mistakes during a 6-1
victory over the struggling Sharks.
”That’s that happens when you play good defensively,” captain
Henrik Sedin said. ”If you can play like this for 60 minutes teams
are going to make mistakes and sooner or later you are going to get
chances like we did.”
Jeff Tambellini opened the scoring, Alex Burrows and Keith
Ballard scored late in the third, and Roberto Luongo made 32 saves
to help the Canucks beat San Jose for just the third time in 13
games and four seasons.
”Any time you get a line of (Joe) Thornton, (Patrick) Marleau
and (Dany) Heatley, you’re talking about three premier players,”
coach Alain Vigneault said. ”We did a good job of containing them
as best we could, and we did a good job of creating the offense
when the time was right.”
Heatley scored and Thornton had an assist, but Marleau finished
minus-4 as the Sharks failed to build on Wednesday’s win over
defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, instead losing for the
fourth time in five games (1-2-2).
”Most of the goals came off our tape,” coach Todd McLellan.
”When you are the first or second assist on most of their goals
you have no chance. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.”
Antti Niemi finished with 26 saves, and the Sharks finished with
just 10 forwards. They lost Scott Nichol to an errant puck that hit
in the eye during the morning skate, and Devin Setoguchi left with
an undisclosed injury after the first period, leaving them short
for the final two periods.
McLellan wasn t blaming either for the loss.
”You can t pin it on (Niemi) by any means. You ve got to look
at the other 19 guys in front of him,” McLellan said. ”We were
stubborn. We didn’t want to stay to our game plan and get pucks
behind them so we turned it over a lot.”
That sounded a lot like the Canucks during a recent four-game
losing skid. But in the two wins that followed, Vancouver focused
on its own end first, and scored 10 even-strength goals the other
And the goals have come from all four lines. Tied after
Tambellini and Heatley swapped goals in the first period, the game
changed with quck goals from the third and fourth units in the
Torres, pointless in eight games and dropped to the fourth unit
earlier in the game, took a cross-ice drop pass from Jannik Hansen
off the rush and quickly fired a shot past Niemi’s outstretched
glove 2:36 into the second.
A couple shifts later, Tanner Glass, who replaced Torres on the
third line, blocked a shot in front of his net to start a rush the
other way. Samuelsson faked a shot from the top of the left faceoff
circle and then waited for Glass to get to the net and screen Niemi
before snapping it past his blocker.
”We got away from it but are on the right track again,”
Samuelsson said. ”I said it since I came here, you win with all
four lines. Look at other teams that win something and it’s the
third and fourth lines that keep coming at you.”
Samuelsson scored again 7 minutes into the third after San Jose
defenseman Dan Boyle accidentally passed it to him in the slot.
”Obviously it’s a great pass but not to the right guy,”
Boyle said he thought Thornton was going to turn one way and
went the other just as he passed. But he had no answer for the
”I can’t explain it, he said. ”If I could we wouldn t be in
Notes: Vancouver was 2-9-1 against San Jose the last three
seasons. … McLellan said Nichol, who was hit under left eye by a
puck that deflected off Niemi and left the rink wearing a full eye
patch, might be able to play in Edmonton Saturday. But he had no
update on Setoguchi. … Vancouver D Kevin Bieksa was a late
scratch with the flu, and replaced by Aaron Rome.