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Canucks vs Sharks

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 12:38 AM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Sharks trying to stay physical during down time

SAN JOSE -- After two days off, the San Jose Sharks got back to work Friday, and coach Todd McLellan put them through the gauntlet.

Actually, "the old gauntlet" drill," as Sharks forward TJ Galiardi called it.

One by one, each player fought his way past every other teammate, who was lined up along the boards.

"It's a fun drill," McLellan said. "Most of them enjoy doing it, have a lot of fun with it. We haven't practiced for so long, and the physicality part of the game right now is something you can't lose. After taking a couple days off we wanted to bump and grind."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 10:17 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Canucks have faith in Schneider

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider is back in net Tuesday at HP Pavilion for Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks (CNBC, TS, RDS).

The Canucks trail 3-0 in the best-of-7 series, and Schneider gave up five goals on 28 shots before being pulled 4:07 into the third period of a 5-2 loss Sunday in Game 3 after missing the first two games with an undisclosed injury.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said it wasn't a hard decision to stick with Schneider instead of turning back to Roberto Luongo, who relieved Schneider in Game 3 after losing Games 1 and 2.

"Cory, in my opinion, is our MVP," Vigneault said after the Canucks' morning skate. "He's one of the reasons why we got into the playoffs. He's had great bounce-back games and he's been outstanding this year, and I think our group has total faith in both goaltenders, but they've got a lot of faith in Cory and I've got a lot of faith in him. That's why we're going with him tonight."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 6:15 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Pavelski regains playoff form for Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski gave just a taste of the Stanley Cup Playoff highlights to come in his second postseason game six years ago as an NHL rookie.

Pavelski scored early in the second period against the Nashville Predators, giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead and sparking them to a 3-1 win in Game 4 of a Western Conference Quarterfinal.

The next year, Pavelski had five goals and four assists in 13 playoff games. Two years later, he scored nine goals and added eight assists in 15 postseason games. In 2011, he scored five goals and had 10 points in 18 playoff games.

"There are certain players that have the ability to elevate their play," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Pavs' competitiveness and smarts allow him to do that. He lays it on the line every night. He goes to the spots you need to go to score."

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 7:39 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Sharks know they can't become overconfident

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks are sitting on a 3-0 Western Conference Quarterfinals series lead against the Vancouver Canucks, but they know better than to become overconfident.

After taking a 3-0 lead against the Detroit Red Wings in the semifinals two years ago, the Sharks lost three straight and were pushed to the limit in Game 7 before securing a 2-1 win.

Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart played for the Red Wings in that series.

"It can be a lesson for sure," Stuart said Monday morning at Sharks Ice, where San Jose had an optional practice. "Each game in the series, each victory is harder to get. The third victory is harder than the second and the fourth victory is always the hardest. We have to remember this will be the toughest game to win, and we have to approach it like that. If you don't, things can turn quickly.

"I was on the other side of it two years ago. You lose that momentum and all of a sudden, you get 3-2 and you're a little nervous and then it's 3-3 before you know it. You want to come out with the mindset of finishing a team off as quickly as you can. Playing those extra games catches up to you even if you do advance."


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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Schneider starts Game 3 for Vancouver

SAN JOSE -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider will start Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Schneider missed the first two game with a mysterious "body" injury, but he declared himself "100 percent" healthy after taking part in the Canucks' morning skate at HP Pavilion.

"I'm playing so I'm 100 percent," Schneider said. "When you play, you're good."

Before Game 1, Schneider said he was healthy enough to play, but Roberto Luongo started the first two games at Vancouver. Luongo allowed only three goals in each game, but the Sharks won both times, 3-1 in Game 1 and 3-2 in overtime in Game 2.

"I felt like I could play, but I took a little bit of time off and that seemed to help," Schneider said. "Fortunately we had the luxury of a guy like Roberto here, so I wasn't pressed into action. That's not something that every team has. Louie's probably been our best player the first two games."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 8:40 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Marleau comes alive for Sharks

SAN JOSE -- After scoring one goal in his final 16 regular-season games, San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau woke up when the bright lights of the Stanley Cup Playoffs came on.

Marleau scored a goal in each of the Sharks' first two playoff games against the Vancouver Canucks, helping San Jose take a 2-0 lead as the series moves to HP Pavilion for Game 3 on Sunday night (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Marleau scoring goals in the postseason should come as no shock. He has scored 54 playoff goals, a franchise record and the most by any active NHL player other than Jaromir Jagr. Marleau is tied for 40th all-time in playoff goals.
Not bad for a player who has often been criticized for not producing enough in the postseason.

"You just have to look at the stats," Sharks forward Brent Burns said. "The guy is incredible. The only knock on him is he just makes it look too easy. I wish I could do that. He's an unbelievable talent and he's one of the hardest working guys here. It's pretty incredible to see and just follow a guy like that."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 8:18 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Schneider travels with Canucks; no change in status

VANCOUVER Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider flew with the team Saturday afternoon, but there was no word whether the injured No. 1 would be available for Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

“He’s on the trip,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s day to day.”

Schneider missed the final two games of the regular season with what Vigneault labeled a “body" injury, but was back on the ice Sunday and said Tuesday he was ready to play in the series’ opener Wednesday night.

Roberto Luongo played the first two games instead, and Schneider stayed off the ice Thursday before returning to practice Friday. He has not dressed as the backup in the best-of-7 series, which the Sharks lead 2-0.

Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev, who missed the final 10 games of the regular season, also made the trip to San Jose but was wearing a walking boot on his injured right ankle as he walked through the airport in Vancouver.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 8:17 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Canucks look for answers as Game 3 looms

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks arrived at the airport Saturday afternoon with different ideas about how to move on from a stunning loss to the San Jose Sharks the night before and start preparing for Game 3 on Sunday night.

As hard as it was to get over blowing a lead in the final minute and losing 3-2 in overtime on Friday; as devastating as it was be so close to evening the best-of-7 series only to fall behind 2-0 in the Western Conference Quarterfinal, they only have one more day to recover.

Captain Henrik Sedin thought they should "wake up today and look forward to tomorrow," moving on quickly and forgetting a loss goalie Roberto Luongo labeled "a heartbreaker."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 7:14 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Sharks could welcome Canucks' goalie change

SAN JOSE -- The Vancouver Canucks have the San Jose Sharks guessing which goalie they'll face Sunday night at HP Pavilion in Game 3 of their first round Stanley Cup Playoffs series (10 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN, NBCSN, CSN-CA).

Goaltender Cory Schneider, who missed the first two games with a mysterious "body" injury, was on the Canucks' flight Saturday to San Jose. Of course, so was goaltender Roberto Luongo, who started and lost the first two games of the series at Vancouver.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan was asked Saturday how Schneider being in net would change the series.

"It might be a great thing for us," McLellan said. "I think Luongo's been tremendous. I really do. I think he's made some great saves in the series, just as [our Antti] Niemi has. If they want to take that quality of goaltender out of the lineup and go to the other one, we'll take our chances with that as well."

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 5:55 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Sharks get boost from improved special teams

VANCOUVER -- There is little doubt in Dan Boyle’s mind why the San Jose Sharks lasted only five games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season: Porous penalty killing.

The Sharks gave up six goals on 18 chances against the St. Louis Blues and bowed out earlier than any of their nine-straight postseason appearances.

“Our PK let us down and we were out,” Boyle said bluntly.

The veteran defenseman is confident it won’t happen again, not after the Sharks’ penalty killing unit went from 29th in the NHL at 76.9 percent last season to sixth in the League this year, killing off 85 percent of the chances they gave up.

That success continued in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday, with San Jose surrendering three shots on two chances for the Vancouver Canucks. Aggressively pursuing the puck in their own end, and seemingly not afraid to overload on one side, the Sharks kept the Canucks off balance and never really let them get set up and comfortable.

“One guy goes, everybody goes,” Boyle said. “Our unit as a whole has done a very good job all year and it’s just as important as the power play. It’s huge.”

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 5:13 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Canucks, Sharks battle over faceoffs

VANCOUVER -- The San Jose Sharks were the second best faceoff team in the NHL during the regular season and continued that dominance on the draw against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Led by Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture, San Jose won 40 of 70 faceoffs (57 percent) in the opener of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday, but Canucks coach Alain Vigneault takes issue with how the Sharks did it.

“Instead of trying to beat some of those guys clean, the way they cheat and are allowed to cheat, it makes it more challenging,” Vigneault said when asked about the faceoff discrepancy. “They got quite a few guys that can take draws.”

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 4:22 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

With Havlat out, Torres moves up for Sharks

VANCOUVER -- San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat won't play in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Friday (10 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS) after taking a stick in the groin from Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa in the series opener.

Havlat left with nine minutes left in the first period of San Jose's 3-1 win Wednesday, and replays of his last shift show Bieksa lifting his stick up into Havlat's groin area as he turned to box out for a rebound in front of the Vancouver net.

"Havlat? I don't remember," Bieksa said after the Canucks' optional morning skate Friday. "I don't know. I'll have to watch it over again to see what you are talking about."

Havlat was seen walking gingerly in the hallways of Rogers Arena but did not take part in the Sharks' skate Friday. Coach Todd McLellan didn't provide an update on the injury or have much to say about the incident that caused it.

"Marty is not playing [Friday] and I guess that is all that is important," McLellan said. "If there was a situation that somebody crossed the line, it could have been dealt with on the ice or after."

Asked if it was addressed at the League level, he said, "Not that I am aware of."


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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 6:30 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Luongo will start Game 2 for regrouping Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Goaltending was back in the Vancouver Canucks' spotlight on Thursday, but they have bigger problems to worry about against the San Jose Sharks: scoring goals, killing penalties and winning faceoffs.

Roberto Luongo confirmed he would be back in net for Game 2 against San Jose on Friday Friday (10 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS) after a getting a somewhat surprising start in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to open the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Sharks.

Injured No.1 Cory Schneider didn't practice Thursday after being on the ice the previous four days, but there was no word whether he suffered a setback. Coach Alain Vigneault continued to label him "day-to-day" with a "body" injury.

"Not too sure what's going on with that," Luongo said of Schneider's health. "It's a playoff series, it's a bit of a mind game with the opposition, and I am just in the groove now to focus as if I am playing every game until I am told otherwise."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 5:46 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Canucks' Torres plans to 'just play my game'

VANCOUVER -- It didn’t take new San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres long to make a lasting impact on the past two Stanley Cup Playoffs, even if it wasn’t always positive.

Despite vowing to change his approach after a hit to the head knocked out Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa and earned Torres a 25-game suspension (later reduced to 21) in the first round last year, Torres is promising not to let up against his former Vancouver Canucks teammates in these playoffs.

“As the game is going and the puck is dumped in you can't focus on what friends you have over there,” Torres, acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes at the NHL Trade Deadline, said before Game 1 on Wednesday. “I don’t want them easing up on me.”

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 4:20 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Canucks' 'beast' Kesler will be ready for Game 1

VANCOUVER -- Almost lost amid the shock of Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo starting the team's Stanley Cup Playoff opener Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS) was the absence of center Ryan Kesler from the morning skate.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault promised there would be no more surprises before the puck drops for Game 1, insisting Kesler exercised the option on an optional practice, despite the fact every other Vancouver player took part.

"We've got him locked up in the back, we're feeding him raw meat," Vigneault said with a laugh. "The beast will be ready tonight."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 3:42 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Luongo back in goal for Canucks

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks added another twist to their season-long goaltending soap opera when the club announced Roberto Luongo will start in net when the Canucks play Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The possibility of Luongo playing in the opener was raised when Cory Schneider missed the final two games of the regular season and stayed off the ice for five days with what the team called a "body" injury. However, Schneider skated on his own Sunday and with team since Monday and Tuesday. He said after practice Tuesday he felt good enough to play.

Instead it will be Luongo, who lost the No. 1 job two games into last year's playoffs and started this season as Schneider's backup while expecting a trade that never happened.

"It's kind of funny I'm in this situation, but at the same time I'm not surprised," Luongo said, adding he didn't learn he was starting until Wednesday morning. "The way things have been going the last year, I didn't rule it out, for sure. It's been a fun ride and it's only going to get better from here on out."

The ride won't feature Schneider on the bench. First-year pro Joe Cannata, called up from the American Hockey League when Schneider couldn't practice last week, will dress as the backup.

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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals