VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks opened up the Western Conference Finals with a 3-2 win at Rogers Arena on Sunday night.
Here are some of the highlights:
Vancouver out-hit San Jose by a 38-26 margin, with the biggest one going to Chris Higgins in the middle period. The Canucks' forward, who has been limping all week as a result of blocking a shot off his left foot, caught Joe Pavelski with a huge hit just outside the Sharks blue line. Pavelski appeared to be struggling to gain control of the puck when he was run over by Higgins. Higgins finished the night tied for a team-high five hits.
The Turning Point:
With about three minutes remaining in the second period the Canucks had a number of chances in-close on Antti Niemi, including Ryan Kesler, who could not get the puck past Niemi's right pad. Despite not scoring, the flurry, which generated seven shots for Vancouver, turned the tide of the game. The Canucks went on to score twice in a 1:19 span of the third to seal a come from behind victory.
Despite being out-shot 38-20 by the Canucks, the biggest save of the night belonged to Niemi. After Kesler failed the find the back of the net late in the second with Niemi down and out, Raffi Torres hit Jannik Hansen with a perfect pass; however, Niemi managed to get his left pad on the Canucks' forward's shot, preserving the Sharks 2-1 lead at the time.
"It started with the ears and worked all the way through the body. We were like dogs chasing cars down the freeway."
-- Sharks coach Todd McLellan on the fatigue his team faced in the third
Player of the Game:
For all the criticism he faced in the second round when he scored just a single goal (an empty-netter at that), Canucks captain Henrik Sedin looked like his old self Sunday night picking up the game-winner. Henrik received a pass from Christian Ehrhoff as he was cutting across the net and beat Niemi -- who was down and out -- with a backhand shot for the eventual game-winner. Henrik finished the night with a goal and an assist and won 12-of-17 draws in the face-off circle.