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Sharks' OT victory completes sweep of Canucks

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks were deadlocked 3-3 during a furious overtime battle Tuesday night, and the chants of "Sweep! Sweep! Sweep" rained down yet again at HP Pavilion.

Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, the franchise's all-time leader in playoff goals, gave the 17,562 fans what they wanted. Marleau knocked a rebound past goaltender Cory Schneider at 13:18 of overtime for a power-play goal, giving the Sharks a 4-3 win and the first playoff sweep in franchise history.

The Sharks beat Vancouver four straight times to win their Western Conference Quarterfinal series. Their first-ever sweep came one year after they were bounced by the St. Louis Blues in the first round in five games, the fastest playoff exit in franchise history.

"Everybody is doing the little things it takes to win," said Marleau, who scored one goal in each of the four games. "That’s the main thing. We have to keep building up. It’s only going to get harder. We know that."

The Canucks have lost back-to-back first-round series since reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. They lost in five games to the Los Angeles Kings last year. This year, they were swept in a best-of-7 playoff series for the fourth time in franchise history.

"This year, this is not the way we wanted to end," captain Henrik Sedin said. "It was almost like we were a first-time playoff team going to the box too many times. A lot of guys have been together for a long time. It's very disappointing because you only have so many chances."

The Sharks scored three power-play goals for the second straight game, and Marleau's game-winner came on their seventh advantage. Daniel Sedin was in the penalty box for boarding Sharks forward Tommy Wingels and vehemently disputed the call, earning a game misconduct after Marleau's goal for abusive language.

"It's the playoffs. It's shoulder to shoulder," Daniel Sedin said. "I didn't talk to the ref. I screamed. I apologized to him later. But it was a bad call. ... We didn't lose the series on that one call. We lost it earlier in the series.

"This is the most frustrating team I've been a part of. We have a good team, and what cost us? Little mistakes, taking penalties. We have ourselves to blame."

The Sharks made Vancouver pay for its final penalty of the series. Defenseman Dan Boyle hit Joe Thornton with a long outlet pass, and the pass-first center actually unloaded a long blast that Schneider stopped but couldn't control. Marleau turned on the jets, got to the puck and knocked it past Schneider from close range before he could recover.

Marleau said he was yelling at Thornton to shoot.

"I don’t know if he heard me but it was a great play by him just to get it on net," Marleau said. "It was just laying there on the side of the net and I was able to bat it home."

For the second straight game, Joe Pavelski scored two goals for the Sharks, including one with 4:27 left in regulation that tied the score 3-3 after the Sharks had blown a 2-1 lead in the third period. Brent Burns also scored for the Sharks, and goaltender Antti Niemi made 32 saves. Schneider stopped 43 shots.

"Obviously we weren’t playing the way we wanted to," Pavelski said of losing the 2-1 lead. "We sat back in our D-zone. When we did get a puck and had a chance to skate we just sat there to throw it back. We were saying all the right things but we weren’t doing it. We knew what had to be done. It took them scoring a nice power-play goal and taking the lead for it to sink in. ‘Let’s wake up and get back to playing and breathing again.' Once we did that we drew a power play there and we answered."

Burns and Pavelski scored in the first period when the Sharks built a 2-1 lead. After a scoreless second period, the Canucks took a 3-2 lead when Alexandre Burrows and Alexander Edler scored back-to-back goals in a span of 1:50.

The Canucks were 20 minutes away from being swept before their offense came alive in the third period. Burrows scored a power-play goal at 9:12 with Andrew Desjardins in the box for roughing. He took a pass in the slot from Daniel Sedin and beat Niemi.

Burrows got the puck to Edler in the left circle, and he ripped another shot that found the back of the net at 11:02, giving the Canucks a 3-2 lead.

"We were in this game, like the second game, also in overtime," Daniel Sedin said. "The last game we are down 2-1 into the third period. There were moments we just didn't play the way we should. From the first game on we weren't cool or calm enough the way we had to be."

Pavelski made the Canucks pay for another penalty. With Kevin Bieksa off for cross-checking, he backhanded a rebound past Schneider from just to the left of the crease, making it 3-3.

Not surprisingly, Bieksa was angry as he went to the penalty box.

"They were never happy this whole series about the officiating, but all the penalties were penalties, and the refs did a great job," Couture said. "They were undisciplined. They took those penalties and we were able to capitalize."

Schneider made his second straight start after missing the first two games because of an undisclosed injury.

"It [stinks] either way to go out like this, to get swept," Schneider said. "This group here, we could have been better. We should have been better. I gave Game 3 away. They played hard. They deserved to win the series. The penalties? It is what it is, even if I don't like it.

"It's frustrating. This seems like a lost year."

The Sharks, meanwhile, have time to rest and get healthy -- forward Adam Burish suffered an injury to his right hand -- and enjoy their first-ever sweep before the next round begins.

"It will be nice to get some rest," San Jose center Logan Couture said. "It was a hard-fought series, two overtime games. A little extra time. We were playing a lot of minutes, got down a couple forwards. Game 1 we lost Marty [Havlat]. Tonight we lost [Burish]. Playing with 11 forwards will tire you out. A lot of guys played a lot of minutes. So, get some rest. Then we'll enjoy some hockey. I'm looking forward to watching hockey."

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