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Sharks try to even series vs. Canucks

by Dan Rosen /

(Canucks lead best-of-seven series 1-0)


Big story
-- Vancouver smells blood after it grabbed the early lead in the series by holding its home ice advantage in Game 1. The Canucks got goals from Henrik Sedin and Kevin Bieksa in a dominant third period to beat the Sharks 3-2. The two days between Games 1 and 2 should benefit the Sharks, who were admittedly gassed in the third period Sunday night. The Sharks have lost seven straight games in the Western Conference Finals dating to 2004.

Team Scope:

s -- San Jose coach Todd McLellan was asked on Monday to evaluate specific players and their performances after Game 1. First he was asked about Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe, then about Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Antti Niemi, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Devin Setoguchi.

McLellan finally gave the answer to sum up his feelings about his team's overall performance in Sunday's Game 1.

"You know, you could keep running out player after player after player and I'll keep giving you the same answer: We need more from everybody," McLellan said. "Seto has the ability, like Torrey Mitchell, to make a difference with speed. He's got the ability to make a difference with a shot. You have to be in position. You have to be setting yourself up for all those to be factors. I think overall we can all be better."

The only guy who was maybe free from McLellan's criticism is Niemi, who made 35 saves and was a huge reason why the Sharks were ahead 2-1 going into the third period. Niemi gave up the goals to Bieksa and Henrik Sedin, but the Sharks were didn't help their goalie because they were guilty of turning the puck over way too much and not getting in deep enough on the forecheck.

They insist that will change in Game 2.

Canucks -- They set a physical tone in Game 1 and would like to do the same thing in Game 2. The Canucks know they're going to have to hit the Sharks and basically outmuscle them in order to win this series, but they also know it won't be as easy in Game 2 as it was in Game 1.

"We know that they're going to come out hard. That's just the way they are and that's what we've seen all year long," Canucks forward Raffi Torres told "There have been games that we just haven't been able to do anything against these guys because they're just hounding and pounding. They're a tough team to play against when they get going. We have to make sure we're ready to go here. The last thing we want to do is have a split here."

There were so many positive signs for the Canucks in Game 1: Henrik and Daniel Sedin took over in the third period; Roberto Luongo didn't let his first-period gaffe affect him the rest of the way; their mobile defense showed it will be a factor; they gave up only one power play opportunity and their third line was arguably the most consistent line of the night.

The only negative, really, is the Canucks didn't take advantage of early opportunities -- so they found themselves in a 1-0 hole after the first period and 2-1 after the second. Their power play was a non-factor on its first three chances until finally it worked on No. 4 and scored what turned into the winning goal.

Who's hot -- For as much criticism as they faced coming into this series, the Sedin twins have combined for 2 goals and 2 assists in the last two games. Henrik had a goal and an assist in Game 1; he also assisted on Daniel's goal in Game 6 against Nashville. ... Sharks forward Patrick Marleau has scored in back-to-back games since being called "gutless" by Versus analyst (and former teammate) Jeremy Roenick. Sharks captain Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist in Game 1.

Injury report -- Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson remains out with a lower body injury that he suffered in Game 5 against Nashville. … Sharks defenseman Jason Demers will be a game-time decision. He sat out Game 1 with "bumps and bruises," coach Todd McLellan said.

Stat pack -- Both teams are 7-3 in one-goal games this postseason. The Sharks are 6-3 when scoring first while the Canucks are 6-2. ... Vancouver outhit San Jose, 38-26, in Game 1. ... Vancouver had 38 shots on goal and threw 71 pucks toward the net in Game 1. The Sharks had just 29 shots on goal and 55 attempts at the net. ... Both teams are 1-1 in Game 2s this postseason.

Puck drop -- "I believe we will (be better)," McLellan said. "That doesn't guarantee that it's going to happen, but we've massaged the mind, we've held them accountable, tried to help them. I talked to some of the skaters on the ice (Tuesday) as they were roaming around. They all felt pretty good, refreshed. I expect us to be immensely better. The blue team will be better, too."

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