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Game 21: Homecoming Heartbreaker

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks have experienced their fair share of heartbreakers against the Sharks in recent meetings. Thursday night added yet another one to the list.

Dan Boyle's power play goal 3:38 into overtime capped a late comeback for San Jose as the Sharks narrowly escaped Rogers Arena with a 2-1 victory.

The loss extended the Canucks' winless streak to a season-high three games and dropped their overall season record to 11-7-3.

The loss was a tough enough pill to swallow but especially so when you consider the Canucks out-played, out-hit and out-shot the Sharks all night long and looked like they were well on their way to a victory before the late heroics by San Jose.

Kevin Bieksa's power play marker midway through the second period – his first of the season and first in 27 regular season games dating back to last season – gave the Canucks a lead that they carried into the dying moments of the third period before Tomas Hertl pulled the Sharks even with just 65 seconds remaining in regulation.

Hertl got a fortunate bounce after a fanned point shot landed onto his stick and he was able to slide the puck past a prone Roberto Luongo setting the stage for Boyle's overtime winner.

Luongo turned aside 28 of 30 shots in the defeat while Antti Niemi made 34 saves on 35 shots for the Sharks in the victory.

The Canucks resume their season-high six-game home stand on Sunday when they host Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars.

JUICED UP FOR SAN JOSE: When Kevin Bieksa said he loved playing the Sharks, he probably wasn't joking. Bieksa has had the Sharks' number in his career at least as far as offence is concerned. His goal tonight was his ninth in 35 career games against San Jose counting regular season and playoffs.

UNEVEN PLAYING FIELD: The Sharks enjoyed more power play opportunities than the Canucks in three of the four games in the season series. The lone exception was last week when the teams finished with three power plays each – a game the Canucks won 4-2. Boyle's power play winner was the Sharks' first power play goal against Vancouver in 18 attempts. The Canucks only had 12 power play opportunities in the season series.

STATS PACK: Henrik Sedin snapped a three-game point drought with his assist on Bieksa's marker but brother Daniel saw his point drought extend to four games...David Booth made his return to the Canucks' lineup after suffering a lower-body injury back on October 24 in New Jersey. He finished with two shots in 12:04 of ice-time...Tomas Hertl's goal was the first the Canucks allowed at Rogers Arena in 139:57 of consecutive playing time dating back to October 30 against Detroit...The Canucks had their streak of 26 consecutive opposition power plays killed snapped by Dan Boyle's overtime winner.

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