Sunday, January 11, 2009

Canucks Doubled Up By Sharks Saturday

The Vancouver Canucks have found themselves winless in their last four straight games on home ice following a 4-2 defeat to the San Jose Sharks. This was a night that saw the game up for grabs in the final period, but the top team in the NHL proved why they're so strong in winning a game that's on the line.

The Sharks opened the scoring late in the first period while on a power play. Rob Blake attempted to pass the puck from the left face off circle to the top of the crease. However the puck wound up deflecting off the skate of Ryan Kesler and behind goalie Curtis Sanford. Ryane Clowe and Joe Thorton collect the assists on Blake's 7th of the year at 17:37.

Just before the period was over, the moment Canucks fans had been so anxiously awaiting for occured. On the man advantage, Kevin Bieksa's point shot would be denied by netminder Brain Boucher. The rebound came to a wide open Mats Sundin, who wasted no time snapping home his first goal as a Canuck. A couple of standing ovations took place heading into the intermission as Sundin's goal, also assisted by Henrik Sedin came with under eight seconds to go in the period.

Daniel Sedin nearly put the Canucks in the lead in the opening minute of the middle frame. After taking a great pass from Henrik, Daniel had Boucher beat but his chance trickled just wide of the net. A short time later, the Sharks restored their lead as Mike Grier stepped into a rolling puck at the top of the face off circle. His shot wound up taking a wicked curve in mid-air and fooled Sanford on the glove side. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Marcel Goc help Grier score his 9th of the season two minuets into the period.

Sundin nearly drew the Canucks level on a power play a few shifts afterwards, but his wrist shot low in the slot was robbed on a great glove save by Boucher. Eventually the Canucks made it a 2-2 tie on a nice set-up just as they had killed off a penalty. Shane O'Brien dished a great pass on the rush to the goal where Daniel made no mistake tapping it home. Henrik also hits the score sheet on Daniel's team-leading 21st of the campaign at 14:33.

In the final frame, the Sharks really clamped down defensively and didn't give Vancouver a sniff in the way of high-end scoring opportunities. At the other end of the rink, the Sharks worked hard to get some bounces to go their way. Dan Boyle's shot from the line wound up deflecting off the skate of Patrick Marleau. Thorton gets the other power play assist on Marleau's 22nd at 9:28. Then with under three minutes remaining, Marleau capitalized on a turnover behind the net by Alexander Edler. Thomas Plihal helps Marleau tally his team-leading 23rd at 17:37.

Final shots on net favoured the Sharks 27-26, which included a 3rd period margin of 10-2. The Canucks went 1-for-6 on the power play while the Sharks went 2-for-6. Vancouver has now allowed at least a power play goal against in the last five straight games.

Now with an overall record of 22-17-5, the Canucks have a couple of days off for rest in preparation for their next game at GM Place. Tuesday night, the Canucks will host the New Jersey Devils for the one and only time this season. Game time is 7:00pm PST.

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