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Sharks collapse in second half of Game 1

by Dhiren Mahiban / NHL.com
VANCOUVER – The San Jose Sharks got the start they wanted when they opened the scoring at 18:47 of the opening period on Joe Thornton's third goal of the playoffs.

The Sharks also struck on their lone power play when Patrick Marleau re-directed a Dan Boyle point shot to give the visitors a 2-1 lead at 8:44 of the second.

However, a three-minute span late in the second period, which saw the Canucks throw seven shots on Antti Niemi proved to be the turning point in the game.

"That was the momentum changer," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. "The frantic flurry, if you will, about three minutes left in the second. They were coming pretty hard at that point. We wanted to get into the locker room and recover a little bit. 

"We didn't have any in the third."

The flurry continued into the third period as the Canucks out-shot the Sharks 13-7 in the final 20 minutes and had the only two goals of the period.

Kevin Bieksa tied things at two, with his second of the playoffs, beating Niemi high blocker-side off of a perfect feed from Alexandre Burrows.

"There's nights when we lose our legs, but our minds are still pretty sharp. I didn't think that was the case tonight," McLellan said. "It started with the ears and worked all the way through the body. We were like dogs chasing cars down the freeway.

"We weren't catching anybody."

Thirty-two seconds after Bieksa found the back of the net, Dany Heatley was whistled for an elbowing penalty. Vancouver's power play, which was 0-for-3 on the night at that point with just three shots on goal, went to work and Henrik Sedin gave the Canucks their only lead of the game.

Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff spotted Sedin all alone in the slot and the Canucks captain made no mistake, going to the backhand with Niemi down and out for just his second goal of these playoffs.

"It was towards the end of it I think, the last three, four minutes," said Pavelski of the game's turning point. "We got caught in our own end, too many turnovers, we got caught in our own end and it's a long change – you have to get guys off.

"They were able to double up on us a little bit and then they were getting pucks to the net."

Vancouver finished the night out-shooting the Sharks 38-29. Maxim Lapierre had the other goal for the Canucks 1:49 into the second period as he one-timed a Jannik Hansen feed past Niemi for his first of the playoffs.

"For a lot of the game we did some good things, but the second half I thought we had trouble getting (the puck) in (the Canucks' zone)," said Heatley, who had two shots on goal. "A couple turnovers in the neutral zone, and give a team like that some speed and some breaks – they're going to score."

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