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Vancouver
Canucks
49-26-7
San Jose
Sharks
51-26-5
OT
30 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
VAN
SJS
game recap

Canucks 4, Sharks 3, OT

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Canucks 4, Sharks 3, OT
Vancouver Canucks 4, San Jose Sharks 3

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -When Joe Thornton ran Vancouver's Matt Cooke into the boards late in the third period, the San Jose Sharks' sizzling rivalry with the Canucks seemed perfectly primed for a first-round playoff sequel.

Two late goals changed both clubs' postseason course, and it's a pity: After this bruising regular-season finale for San Jose, only a rematch could have been more exciting than a game that decided two division titles.

Mattias Ohlund scored a power-play goal 34 seconds into overtime, and the Canucks clinched the Northwest Division title with a 4-3 victory Saturday.

Roberto Luongo made 27 saves in his 47th win for the Canucks, who also clinched the Pacific Division title for the Anaheim Ducks by ending San Jose's five-game winning streak. The Sharks began the day two points behind Anaheim for the division crown and the No. 2 seed in next week's playoffs - and if the Canucks had won in regulation, they might have faced San Jose.

Thornton had a goal and two assists for San Jose, assisting on Jonathan Cheechoo's tying goal with 32 seconds left in regulation - but last season's MVP finished his 114-point season in the penalty box after a tripping call. Ohlund's shot from the point glanced off Curtis Brown's stick and found an improbable angle into the net behind goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

But Thornton really got the Canucks' attention with 5:06 to play when he lowered his shoulder and ran Cooke into the boards, possibly breaking his own nose in the process.

"Any time someone hits you from behind, it's not the best," said Cooke, who wasn't hurt on the play. "If that's the way he wants to play, fine. He's 6-(foot)-5 and 210 pounds. I have no respect for him. Fair is fair, but when you see the numbers ... You teach the kids not to hit (that way). You can't have superstars out there doing that."

Both players hit the end of the rink forcefully, and Thornton was bent over in pain as he went to the locker room. Thornton returned to the bench moments later, but couldn't speak to reporters after the game while getting treatment on his nose.

"I think if it's any other guy in the league, you have to call a major (penalty)," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "But Thornton is an All-Star player, and obviously he gets a lot of leeway, and he gets a lot of decisions going his way."

Matt Cooke and Taylor Pyatt scored first-period goals for the Canucks, but Milan Michalek and Thornton tied it with power-play goals in the second. Kevin Bieksa scored his first goal in 15 games early in the third period for a 3-2 lead, but Cheechoo tied it while Nabokov - who made 26 saves - was pulled for an extra attacker.

Sharks coach Ron Wilson saw nothing wrong with Thornton's aggressive play, noting the Canucks' defensive game plan included a few questionable hits.

"We've got our best player playing mean, big, strong and not taking any prisoners," Wilson said. "There's hell to pay when Joe is running and hitting. You want to touch him, you're going to pay a price.

"It's not about getting back at Matt Cooke or (Alex) Burrows or any one of those little agitators. If they're going to hit Joe and Jonathan Cheechoo, we have to hit the skill people on the other team equally as hard."

Ohlund's goal ended San Jose's seven-game home winning streak and forced the Sharks to open the postseason on the road despite a franchise-record, 107-point regular season and a conference-leading 51 victories.

By earning one point, San Jose clinched the No. 5 seed in next week's playoffs against Nashville, its first-round opponent last season. Dallas, which finishes its regular season against Chicago on Sunday, has 105 points but would lose a tiebreaker with San Jose on total victories.

"They're a tough team with a lot of speed, a lot of skill," Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan said. "We'll start on the road, but we'll do what we've got to do. We'll do what it takes. That was the plan all along."

The Canucks, who finish their regular season Sunday in Phoenix, needed just one win to hold off Minnesota for the division title. Vancouver is the only opponent to win at the Shark Tank since February, doing it twice in overtime.

Luongo is headed to his first postseason after the winningest season in history for a Canucks goalie. He broke the franchise record for wins in Vancouver's last trip to San Jose, and this victory tied Bernie Parent's long-standing, NHL single-season record of 47 wins - though it already was surpassed by New Jersey's Martin Brodeur earlier in the week.

"It was one of the most intense games I've played all year," Luongo said. "You could feel it in the air."

Notes: The Sharks played without forward Bill Guerin, who sat out for the third time in four games to rest his strained groin for the playoffs. ... The Sharks finished the regular season with 27 consecutive sellout crowds.

scoring summary
1st Period
01:56
VAN
Matt Cooke (10) Backhand shot - ASST: Kevin Bieksa (30), Brendan Morrison (31)
1 - 0 VAN
04:38
VAN
Taylor Pyatt (23) Wrist shot - ASST: Sami Salo (22), Daniel Sedin (48)
2 - 0 VAN
2nd Period
00:48
SJS
PPG - Milan Michalek (26) Tip-in - ASST: Joe Thornton (91), Jonathan Cheechoo (32)
2 - 1 VAN
15:42
SJS
PPG - Joe Thornton (22) Wrist shot - ASST: Patrick Marleau (46), Joe Pavelski (14)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
07:01
VAN
PPG - Kevin Bieksa (12) Slapshot - ASST: Brent Sopel (23), Markus Naslund (36)
3 - 2 VAN
19:27
SJS
Jonathan Cheechoo (37) Wrist shot - ASST: Milan Michalek (40), Joe Thornton (92)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
00:34
VAN
PPG - Mattias Ohlund (11) Slapshot - ASST: Sami Salo (23), Henrik Sedin (71)
4 - 3 VAN
penalty summary
1st Period
05:54
SJS
Joe Thornton  Slashing against  Matt Cooke
08:45
VAN
Brent Sopel  Slashing against  Milan Michalek
14:57
VAN
Alexandre Burrows  Roughing against  Joe Thornton
14:57
VAN
Tommi Santala  Roughing against  Milan Michalek
14:57
VAN
Rory Fitzpatrick  Roughing against  Craig Rivet
14:57
SJS
Milan Michalek  Roughing against  Tommi Santala
14:57
SJS
Joe Thornton  Roughing against  Alexandre Burrows
14:57
SJS
Craig Rivet  Roughing against  Rory Fitzpatrick
18:52
VAN
Trevor Linden  Hooking
2nd Period
05:35
VAN
Markus Naslund  Tripping against  Joe Pavelski
07:13
VAN
Brendan Morrison  Hooking against  Jonathan Cheechoo
10:09
SJS
Ryane Clowe  Roughing against  Brendan Morrison
13:58
VAN
Roberto Luongo  Delaying Game-Smothering puck
15:06
VAN
Jan Bulis  Hooking against  Marc-Edouard Vlasic
20:00
SJS
Steve Bernier  Roughing against  Mattias Ohlund
20:00
VAN
Mattias Ohlund  Roughing against  Steve Bernier
3rd Period
01:44
SJS
Jonathan Cheechoo  Tripping
06:08
SJS
Curtis Brown  Hooking
14:54
SJS
Joe Thornton  Boarding against  Matt Cooke
OT Period
00:20
SJS
Joe Thornton  Tripping against  Daniel Sedin
goalie stats
Roberto Luongo
SA: 30TOI: 60:34
Saves: 27EV: 19 - 20
PIM: 2PP: 8 - 10
SV%: .900SH: 0 - 0
Evgeni Nabokov
SA: 30TOI: 60:04
Saves: 26EV: 15 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 7
SV%: .867SH: 6 - 6