SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Coach Ron Wilson was borderline disgusted with the
San Jose Sharks' intensity and effort less than a week before the playoffs.
Matt Cooke scored the go-ahead goal and the Vancouver Canucks remained in
first place in the Northwest Division with a 4-1 victory against the surging
Sharks on Friday night.
``They were obviously a little bit hungrier than we were,'' Wilson said.
``You always win as a team and lose as a team, but we had a couple guys who
didn't battle the way we needed them to and it cost us early in the game. The
lesson learned here is you can't turn it on and turn it off when you feel like
``If you don't want to play in a game like this where you give 100 percent,
then we've got other people.''
Vancouver won its fifth straight, while snapping San Jose's five-game
After second-place Colorado beat Columbus 4-2 earlier Friday, the Canucks
had to win to maintain their positioning.
Vancouver ends the regular season at home against Edmonton on Saturday, and
Colorado finishes Sunday at home against Nashville. With a victory, the Canucks
will clinch the division and secure the third seed in the Western Conference
playoffs. The Canucks hold the tiebreaker over the Avalanche for the division
``We control it and we want to go out and play well,'' Vancouver forward
Mike Keane said. ``We want to go to the playoffs feeling good about ourselves.
We worked hard to get where we are. We were scoreboard watching before the
game. We just have to go out and win our games.''
San Jose clinched the Pacific Division on Wednesday and will be the No. 2
seed in the West behind Detroit.
Wilson planned to talk with his team about lack of effort before Sunday's
regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Kings.
``There's nothing for L.A. to play for,'' Wilson said. ``This should have
been viewed as a test to keep the momentum. We'll move on.''
Mattias Ohlund gave the Canucks the quick lead, scoring his 13th goal when
he skated around the back of the goal and wristed a shot into the upper part of
the net 1:29 in. Brendan Morrison had the assist.
Todd Harvey tied it later in the period.
Following a faceoff, Harvey collected the puck after Niko Dimitrakos' shot
rebounded off Dan Cloutier. Harvey skated around the sprawling goaltender and
wristed a shot into the open net.
But Cooke answered for the Canucks 31 seconds later, scoring his 11th goal
on Morrison's second assist of the night at 11:58. Morrison stole the puck
along the left boards outside the San Jose zone and skated the puck down and
passed to Cooke.
Henrik Sedin scored his 11th goal at 1:52 of the second period to make it
3-1. His twin brother, Daniel, and Brad May assisted.
Artem Chubarov added a short-handed, empty-net goal with 25 seconds left.
``We had a lot of opportunities,'' Sharks center Wayne Primeau said. ``When
they score so quickly, it puts a damper on things.''
The Canucks appeared headed for a second-place division finish when star
forward Todd Bertuzzi was suspended for the remainder of the regular season and
the playoffs for his hit on Colorado's Steve Moore last month.
After winning just one of its first seven games (1-3-2-1) without Bertuzzi,
Vancouver has won five straight.
``You want to be going into the playoffs playing well, so there are
positives we can take out of here,'' said Cloutier, who had 33 saves. ``It is
always tough to come in here and get two points. For us to do that, coming into
this building against that team, it is always a bonus.''
Vesa Toskala was in goal for San Jose, which gave regular starter Evgeni
Nabokov the night off. Nabokov likely will start Sunday for a final tuneup
before the playoffs.
Toskala, who had 25 saves, won his previous two games. He faced Vancouver
two other times this season, both on the road, losing one and winning one.