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game recap

Sharks tie for second in Pacific, assure top-3 finish

Defeat Canucks to move up in division race

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks moved into a tie for second place in the Pacific Division with a 3-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks at SAP Center on Tuesday.

The Sharks (45-28-7) trail the Anaheim Ducks by four points for first place and are tied with the Edmonton Oilers, who have one game in hand.

San Jose is five points ahead of the fourth-place Calgary Flames, who can't catch the Sharks. Each team has two games remaining. Edmonton lost 6-4 to the Los Angeles Kings, and Calgary lost 3-1 to Anaheim.

 

WATCH: All Canucks vs. Sharks highlights

 

"We want to try to win out and give ourselves the best possible scenario going into the playoffs with home ice," said San Jose forward Chris Tierney, who scored a third-period goal. "We're just going to keep working every day, try to get better, and try to string a couple wins together here."

Martin Jones made 33 saves for the Sharks, who swept the season series against the Canucks (5-0-0), including a 3-1 win in Vancouver on Sunday in the first of the home-and-home set.

Sharks center Joe Thornton missed the game with a left-knee injury, ending his streak of 201 consecutive games. Center Logan Couture missed his fifth game since being hit in the mouth by a deflected puck against the Nashville Predators on March 25.

Even without their top two centers, the Sharks took control early.

Rookie Kevin Labanc and Joel Ward each scored in the first 30 seconds to give San Jose a 2-0 lead. They were the fastest two goals to begin a game in Sharks history. The old record was 47 seconds, set by Owen Nolan and Joe Murphy in a 2-2 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 22, 1998.

Labanc scored at 18 seconds of the first period, beating goalie Richard Bachman with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle to end a 28-game goal drought.

Ward put a snap shot past Bachman 12 seconds later for a 2-0 lead.

Video: VAN@SJS: Tierney tips home Burns' wrister to pad lead

Labanc skated on a top line centered by captain Joe Pavelski, who moved from right wing to fill Thornton's spot.

"The start was spot on," Pavelski said. "That's the kind of response we wanted. It's just, you can't take your foot off the gas. I doesn't matter who you're playing right now. You're trying to build your game, and you don't want that. You want to keep pushing the issue and keep playing."

Christopher Tanev scored, and Bachman made 22 saves in his fourth start of the season for the Canucks (30-40-9), who lost their fifth straight game.

"It was a bad start, and I thought our guys battled back hard," Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said. "We had a pretty good second and third."

Tanev got the Canucks within 2-1 at 3:30 of the third period, beating Jones from the right circle with a wrist shot to the far side.

Tierney made it 3-1 at 9:18 when Brent Burns' wrist shot from the point deflected off his right leg past Bachman from close range.

 

Goal of the game

Labanc got to the puck off a faceoff in the right circle, skated to his left, and shot while spinning at the top of the hash marks to give San Jose the early lead.

Video: VAN@SJS: Labanc turns around to score 18 seconds in

 

Save of the game

Vancouver's Sven Baertschi redirected Bo Horvat's pass from the right wall near the right hash marks, but Jones stopped the puck with his right arm at 6:14 of the second period.

 

Unsung performance of the game

Horvat had a game-high six shots on goal and provided a screen for Tanev on Vancouver's only goal.

 

Highlight of the game

Joonas Donskoi won a battle for the puck and poked it back to Ward, who scored from just above the right circle.

Video: VAN@SJS: Ward strikes on big blast off the post

 

They said it

"It's a little weird not seeing him here, but other leaders stepped up and lifted the room, so it wasn't bad." -- Sharks forward Chris Tierney on playing without injured center Joe Thornton

 

"You never want to be part of a losing team, but we have some young guys on their way up. So we have to stay positive, battle every night. From that aspect, it's been pretty good most nights. That's key. Our young guys keep getting better, and we'll be good in a few years." -- Canucks forward Daniel Sedin

 

Need to know

Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin faced the Sharks for the first time since they traded him to Vancouver on Feb. 28 for forward Jannik Hansen and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. After being a healthy scratch in a 3-1 loss to San Jose on Sunday, Goldobin skated on the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. He had five giveaways and two missed shots in 13:25 of ice time.

 

What's next

Canucks: At the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; FS-A PLUS, SNP, NHL.TV)

Sharks: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCS CA+, SNW, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Sharks take advantage of quick start in 3-1 win

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