The Vancouver Canucks were savagely attacked by a veteran San Jose Sharks team Wednesday night at the HP Pavilion and just like in Jaws, the carnage was overwhelming.
The Sharks came at the Canucks in waves beating them 6-2 in the backend of a home-and-home series; all four lines were in on the San Jose scoring, which included four power play goals on five attempts.
Joe Pavelski, Dany Heatley, Andreas Lilja, Logan Couture, John McCarthy and Jamie McGinn all scored for the Sharks in their final pre-season game; Raffi Torres replied with both goals for the Canucks, who fall to 2-5-0 in exhibition play with a tilt against the Anaheim Ducks Friday left on the slate.
Dan Hamhuis had a pair of assists and Christian Ehrhoff added a single to round out the points for the Canucks in their third game in four nights.
Eddie Lack got his second pre-season start in goal for Vancouver stopping 24 shots; Antero Niittymaki had 19 saves in net for San Jose.
The opening period got off to a predictable start for a pair of teams that played a night earlier as it was a battle to see who could get their legs under them first. Vancouver began the scoring 6:48 in courtesy of a 50-foot wrist shot from Torres with the teams at 4-on-4.
That lead was short-lived with the Sharks scoring two power play goals before the end of the period to take a 2-1 lead.
San Jose’s power play was 0-for-27 coming into this game, but it continued to click against Vancouver in the second with another power play goal, followed by an even strength marker to put this game out of reach.
Torres answered for the Canucks 15 seconds after the fourth Sharks goal with a tricky re-direct of a Hamhuis point shot, but that’s all the offence the Canucks could muster.
The Sharks added a pair of goals in the third, one via the power play, the other at even strength, the close out the lopsided win.
This game was one of only two pre-season contests remaining before the start of the 2010-11 season and with many Canucks still on the bubble, it was surprising to see how quiet a night it was for the likes of Jeff Tambellini, Brendan Morrison, Cody Hodgson and Peter Schaefer.
All four players are fighting for spots on Vancouver’s third or fourth lines with Alex Burrows’ slot on the second unit also up for grabs, yet no one stepped up against the Sharks.
Tambellini was arguably the best of the bunch, in 16:25 of ice time he had two hits, two takeaways and two blocked shots, he also set up a streaking Aaron Rome for a great scoring chance in front with a tape-to-tape pass from deep in San Jose territory.
Morrison and Hodgson provided the most offence with two and three shots on goal and both were tested on faceoffs with Morrison going 8-for-14 and Hodgson finishing 5-for-16.
Schaefer played the least of these four and with the exception of a great defensive play getting back to lift Dany Heatley’s stick in front of the Vancouver net to prevent a scoring chance, he didn’t standout.
While most want pre-season play to be over yesterday, Canucks forward Raffi Torres is using the time to sharpen his offensive skills and against the Sharks the results spoke for themselves.
Torres had both Vancouver goals, the first a knuckler from a ways out that beat Niittymaki five-hole to put the Canucks up 1-0. It wasn’t pretty, but it counted.
“I’ll take those any day,” laughed Torres. “I’m just trying to get pucks on net and I know it’s just pre-season, but it’s good to get some confidence going and just getting pucks on net is what we’re focusing on here.”
Torres comes to Vancouver after an up and down 2009-10 campaign where he scored 19 goals and had 31 points in 60 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres, a team he never quite fit in with recording five points and no goals in 14 games.
Three times Torres has topped the 15-goal plateau in his career and his personal-best sits at 27 goals while with the Edmonton Oilers five seasons ago; he’s proven he can score and he’s hoping to get back to his old ways in Vancouver.
“At the end of the day things didn’t work out in Buffalo, I wish they did, but obviously they didn’t so I’ve just got to leave that in the past and I’m excited about being on a new team, it’s a great chance for me to rejuvenate my career and I think I can help this team out and hopefully we go a long way.”
Unlikely fighters and former teammates Christian Ehrhoff and Joe Pavelski dropped the gloves in the second period, yet nothing came of it; the Canucks had just 22 seconds of power play time on the night; defenceman Lee Sweatt had three times as many hits as any other Canuck with six on the night.