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Patrick Marleau scores two late goals as Sharks beat slumping Canucks 4-2

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VANCOUVER, B.C. - Patrick Marleau scored two third-period goals Saturday to give gave the San Jose Sharks a 4-2 victory over the slumping Vancouver Canucks and their second straight NHL road win.

Marleau got the winner when Dan Boyle's shot deflected off his skate and dribbled behind goalie Curtis Sanford.

The goal - the Sharks' second with the man advantage - was reviewed but officials ruled the puck did not enter the net from a kicking motion.

Marleau scored his 23rd of the season on a backhand near the end of the game.

Mats Sundin, the Canucks' high-priced free-agent acquisition, was serving a high-sticking penalty when the winner was scored.

It was the second time in two nights that he was in the penalty box when that happened.

However, Sundin got his first goal of the season late in the first period and Daniel Sedin gave Vancouver a 2-2 tie entering the third.

Rob Blake and Mike Grier also counted for the Sharks who limited the Canucks to two shots in the final period.

San Jose had won only two of their previous seven road games despite a commanding lead atop the Pacific Division and being the Western Conference leaders.

However, they improved to 31-5-5 with the victory over Vancouver in the finale of a three-game Western Canada swing.

They also stayed a point ahead of the Boston Bruins in the battle for first overall.

The Canucks, humbled 5-0 in San Jose on Dec. 23, lost their fourth straight at home to drop to 22-17-5.

Blake scored on the power play at 17:37 of the first period after Vancouver killed off the front end of a 59-second two-man advantage.

The puck appeared to deflect behind Sanford off the skate of defender Ryan Kesler who was jostling in the crease with Shark Milan Michalek.

The Canucks drew even with only 7.6 seconds remaining in the period when Sundin, who signed for a pro-rated $US8.26 million on Dec. 18, counted on his first shot on goal this season.

Sundin, who had no points and no shots on goal in his first two games, blasted the puck past goalie Brian Boucher on the power play.

The big 37-year-old ex-Toronto Maple Leaf, who had been saying he hadn't regained his timing, controlled Kevin Bieksa's rebound and stepped into his shot from the right face-off circle.

The goal triggered a long, loud standing ovation as Sundin, the biggest free-agent signing in Canuck history, broke into a wide grin as he celebrated with teammates.

It took only two minutes for San Jose to break the tie as Grier whacked a puck that seemed to knuckleball behind Sanford after a defensive zone turnover.

The goal was the fourth in four games and ninth of the season for Grier.

Sundin almost had his second goal on a subsequent Vancouver power play but Boucher gloved a close-in chance that was headed inside the far post.

Shane O'Brien, penalized for holding Joe Thornton's stick, was the architect of Daniel Sedin's tying goal in the second period.

He stepped from the penalty box to take Henrik Sedin's outlet pass, carry the puck deep into the Shark zone and feed Daniel Sedin for an easy tap-in for his 21st goal of the season.

Boucher had to be sharp to preserve the 2-2 tie in the final minute of the period. He dived as Kyle Wellwood tried to convert a rebound and smothered a Sundin chance on his doorstep.

Notes: Sanford blanked the Sharks with 16 saves when he relieved rookie goalie Cory Schneider 21 minutes and five goals into in Vancouver's earlier loss to San Jose. ... The Sharks play seven of their next eight games at home. ... With checking centre Ryan Johnson back in the lineup, the Canucks reassigned winger Jason Jaffray to the AHL Manitoba Moose. ... Daniel Sedin has reached the 20-goal plateau for the fourth consecutive season.

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