Make it five in a row for the surging San Jose Sharks.
San Jose broke a scoreless tie with three goals in a span of 2:13 against Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider, then held on and completed a season sweep of Vancouver.
It didn't come easy, as the Canucks got goals from Chris Higgins and Alexandre Burrows to pull within one. But the Sharks prevailed and extended their longest win streak since taking seven straight to open the season.
"When it gets 3-0, everyone gets kind of comfortable," Thornton said. "We know how quickly it can vanish, but it was nice we held on for the two points. You can't let up, and I think we did. Then before you know it they get one and then they get momentum on their side. But for the first two periods, we looked strong like we have. At the end of the day we got the two [points]."
Trade speculation continues to swirl around Sharks forward Ryane Clowe, who was a healthy scratch, but the Sharks are grabbing enough attention for what's happening on the ice. They remain in the No. 6 playoff position in the Western Conference, but trail the Los Angeles Kings by just one point for the fifth spot.
The Sharks dominated the first period, outshooting Vancouver 14-6, but they couldn't convert a couple of prime opportunities.
"I thought our best period was our first period," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We scored the three goals and then the game changes a bit for us. To hit them quickly with those goals was real important. We forced them to play their two top lines a lot more. It was taxing on them. Fortunately, we hung in long enough to win it."
Things changed quickly in the second period.
Andrew Desjardins beat Schneider from the left side at the 7:41 mark to break a scoreless tie, and less than a minute later Thornton outfought a Canucks player for a loose puck just inside the blue line and blasted a wrister that found the net for a 2-0 lead.
The Sharks then sent a sellout home crowd into hysterics with an electrifying sequence after a penalty to Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa. San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi made a terrific save on a shorthanded breakaway opportunity for Jannik Hansen, and the Sharks immediately headed back the other way.
Patrick Marleau sent a pass to Logan Couture in front of the net, and Couture appeared to knock the puck into the net with his skate at 9:54. The play was reviewed but the goal was upheld, as it was ruled that Couture didn't intentionally kick the puck in.
Just like that, the Canucks were behind 3-0, and the Sharks' scoring blitz had to provide a bad case of déjà vu. On Saturday, the Canucks allowed four goals on their first five shots allowed in a 4-0 loss to Edmonton.
Vancouver, currently holding the No. 4 seed in the West, tried to shake its recent offensive slump, calling up highly touted winger Nicklas Jensen. The 20-year-old made his NHL debut and played on the top line alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Winger Bill Sweatt also was called up from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League and played in just his third NHL game.
"That was the game right there," Burrows told The Vancouver Sun regarding the Sharks' three quick tallies. "But I like how we responded; we responded much better than we did against Edmonton. We showed some character and tried to come back.
"We've got to be realistic. You look at our lineup; we've had a lot of young players taking their first steps in the NHL. If you start running and gunning with this kind of roster ... I'd rather try to play well defensively and not have those two or three minutes like we did tonight."
Material from wire services was used in this report.
|Andrew Desjardins (1) ASST: Adam Burish (2), Scott Gomez (9)|
1 - 0 SJS
|Joe Thornton (6) ASST: Matt Tennyson (1)|
2 - 0 SJS
|PPG - Logan Couture (15) ASST: Patrick Marleau (10), Joe Thornton (27)|
3 - 0 SJS
|Chris Higgins (9) ASST: Jannik Hansen (12), Kevin Bieksa (3)|
3 - 1 SJS
|Alexandre Burrows (10) ASST: Chris Higgins (5), Jannik Hansen (13)|
3 - 2 SJS
|Chris Higgins Hooking against Joe Pavelski|
|Kevin Bieksa Interference against Tommy Wingels|
|Steven Pinizzotto Fighting (maj) against Andrew Desjardins|
|Andrew Desjardins Fighting (maj) against Steven Pinizzotto|
|Alexandre Burrows Slashing against Martin Havlat|