VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Brent Sopel made up for his early
After getting burned in his end on both San Jose goals, Sopel scored his
second power-play goal of the game 2:14 into overtime. That lifted the Canucks
to a 3-2 comeback win over the Sharks on Thursday night.
``There's not much that can be done, I just have to refocus myself,'' said
Sopel, who was beaten wide when Marco Sturm gave San Jose a 2-1 lead 4:42 into
the third period. ``Whatever is left in the game I've just got to play hard.''
Sopel scored the winner _ his eighth of the season _ after San Jose was
whistled for too many men on the ice 35 seconds into overtime. Vesa Toskala
stopped Markus Naslund's shot from the low left circle, but the puck bounced
straight to Sopel on the other side, leaving him with an unguarded net.
``Just a yawning cage,'' said Sopel, who also scored with a one-timer from
the top of the right circle midway through the second period, and assisted on
Mattias Ohlund's tying goal with 3:06 left in regulation.
On the tying goal, Artem Chubarov won a faceoff in the San Jose end back to
Sopel, whose long shot rebounded out to the right circle. Ohlund pounced on it
and wired a perfect slap shot past a screened Toskala and into the top corner.
``It was a very timely goal to tie it up,'' Canucks captain Markus Naslund
said after getting an assist in his first game back since suffering a
concussion 10 days earlier.
``I think my timing might be off a little bit and I think that's natural
when you've been down for that period of time,'' Naslund said. ``But we got the
win and I think that's all that matters.''
The victory was Vancouver's first over the Sharks in three games this season
and just the third time in 11 meetings over the last three years. It was also
the first time since Jan. 31 the Canucks won consecutive games, and it moved
them within two points of Northwest Division-leading Colorado.
``It's huge,'' Sopel said of the win. ``We've struggled lately putting games
together. It's a good confidence builder. Nobody can keep up with us when we're
at the top of our game.''
Sturm's 20th goal gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead early in the third period. But
San Jose couldn't hold on, losing for just the second time in six games.
The Sharks were happy to pick up a point to move six points ahead of Dallas
atop the Pacific Division. But they were upset about giving away a point late
in the third period, then losing it for good on an overtime penalty call.
``You never like to see a game end like that, but I guess there's not much
we can do about it now, bad call or not,'' said Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart.
Scott Thornton also scored and Toskala made 33 saves for the Sharks, who
lost center Mike Ricci and defenseman Kyle McLaren to injuries in the first
period. Neither player returned.
``It's too bad we didn't come out with two points,'' said Sharks coach Ron
Wilson. ``But we had a real short bench when you miss a defenseman as good as
Kyle and obviously the importance of Mike Ricci to our lineup.''
McLaren was hit in the face with the puck after a hard slap shot by
Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo deflected off the glove of Sharks forward Scott
Parker. The rising puck caught McLaren in front of his own net. He collapsed
immediately to the ice bleeding and left with trainers holding a towel over
what was announced as a head laceration.
Ricci was taken hard into the sideboards by Canucks winger Jarkko Ruutu 5:32
into the game, and collapsed immediately to the ice. After being attended to by
a team trainer, Ricci went straight to the locker room holding his right
Wilson didn't have an update on Ricci, but said McLaren's injury wasn t as
bad as it first looked.
``The puck went off his helmet and caused the cut,'' Wilson said. ``He just
got a CAT scan, but I don t think it's anything major. He was in here laughing.
He s got a huge lump and probably a 10-stitch cut, so he's split wide open.''