VANCOUVER -Devin Setoguchi is making a strong case for sticking with San Jose this season, and Sharks coach Ron Wilson is taking notice.
The 20-year-old rookie right winger scored two power-play goals as the Sharks earned a 4-3 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks in NHL pre-season action. He now leads the Sharks with five goals in the exhibition season.
"It's definitely been nerve-wracking," said Setoguchi, a Taber, Alta., native who was selected eighth overall by the Sharks in the 2005 NHL entry draft. "This club's got a great hockey team and, hopefully, I can be a part of it and one day (the opportunity) comes.
"It's been fun. It's been entertaining to play with all the players that they got here. I'm enjoying every minute."
Defenceman Rob Davison also made an impression as he scored the decisive shootout goal while Ryan Clowe tied the game with only 53.5 seconds remaining in the third period.
"Obviously, we didn't show up," said Canucks defenceman Willie Mitchell, who played his first exhibition game after being sidelined with a groin injury in training camp.
Taylor Pyatt, Kevin Bieksa and Alex Edler scored for the Canucks, who were held scoreless on seven power-play opportunities and saw their pre-season record fall to 2-3-1.
The Sharks went three-for-seven on the power play as they improved their exhibition record to 4-0-2.
Setoguchi, who played for the Prince George Cougars of the WHL last season, is making up for a disappointing 2006 NHL exhibition campaign, when he was sidelined with a knee injury.
He tried for an unofficial hat-trick as he took San Jose's first shot in the shootout, but he was thwarted by Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo after beating him twice in regulation time.
"I tried to make my move, he didn't bite on it and I didn't get it," Setoguchi said.
Still, he faces a difficult time cracking a Sharks roster that includes some of the NHL's most gifted scorers, including Joe Thornton, who sat out Wednesday, and Jonathan Cheechoo. Setoguchi said San Jose's coaches have not indicated whether he will still be around when the NHL season begins for real in early October.
Wilson said Setoguchi has made an impression on coaches and players alike.
"He's pretty close to being ready to play in the NHL," Wilson said. "He plays with intensity. He finishes his checks. Like any young guy, he's got a few things to learn about the game defensively. But, all in all, he's a pretty complete player."
Wilson said the club will make a spot available for Setoguchi if he earns a spot with his play.
"He's played really well," Wilson said. "The veterans come in with a certain amount of equity playing in the league. Seto's gone about trying to make an impression on us u and he's done it."
Mitchell said it's still difficult to get mentally prepared at this point before the regular season and the Canucks have not practised penalty-killing.
"Once the roster gets pared down a little bit and we start to have more (veterans) in the lineup, mentally, we'll be more prepared and, also, be able to put more of a lineup we want out there."
Edler gave Vancouver a 3-2 lead at 6:47 of the third period as he fired a drop pass from Trevor Linden just inside the San Jose blue-line. The shot went through Linden's legs and past several other players before cleanly beat Sharks rookie goaltender Thomas Griess.
Clowe roofed a shot over Luongo in the final minute, while Dan McGillis was off for interference, to force overtime.
Griess played the entire game for the Sharks.
Notes: San Jose's top goaltender Evgeni Nabokov did not dress. . . . Centre Jason Jaffray, considered a long shot to make the Canucks when training camp began, suited up for his fifth pre-season game after surviving the latest round of cuts Tuesday. He spent last season with Manitoba of the American Hockey League. . . . The Canucks sat out high-scoring twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin.