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

way.

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

second.

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,”

Samuelsson said.

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

Sharks inconsistency.

”I can’t explain it, he said. ”If I could we wouldn t be in

this situation.”

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.