Sharks rally, defeat Canucks
Pavelski, Hertl score early in thirdby Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent
VANCOUVER -- The San Jose Sharks were trailing the Vancouver Canucks going into the third period Sunday, but their focus in the second intermission was on the gap between the teams in the Pacific Division standings.
With four more games to play against the Canucks this season (including two more this week), the Sharks talked about the chance to increase the lead to 12 points in the division with one good period. Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl then scored goals 2:28 apart early in the third period to help San Jose to a 4-1 win at Rogers Arena.
Pavelski tied the game 4:21 into the third with a nice individual effort and Hertl put San Jose ahead with a deflection from atop the crease 2:28 later.
"If it could have been eight (points ahead), maybe they have a lot more jump coming into the next four games," said Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who had two assists. "A 12-point cushion is better."
Patrick Marleau scored on a 5-on-3 power play with 5:51 left and Justin Braun, who assisted on Hertl's goal, scored into an empty net with 1:10 remaining for San Jose (33-22-6).
Video: SJS@VAN: Hertl's nice deflection puts Sharks ahead
"It was a big game for us with a team that is chasing us, we had a good opportunity to put them at a pretty good distance," said goalie Martin Jones, who made 23 saves in his first NHL start in his hometown. "We knew the importance of the game and I thought we were OK for the most part, but we just didn't have a lot of jump. But in the third we really stepped it up, we really executed and scored a couple big goals."
Daniel Sedin scored and Ryan Miller made 24 saves for Vancouver (24-25-12), which failed to win three straight games for the first time this season.
"Being up 1-0 in a game like this when we know it's a chance for us to get closer and that happens in the third, it's disappointing," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said.
Daniel Sedin opened the scoring shortly after a power play expired 3:03 into the second period. After controlling play and generating four shots with a man-advantage, Sedin skated out from behind the net with a wraparound that was stopped, but he put his own rebound between Jones' legs. It was Sedin's 350th goal, making him the 60th NHL player and fifth Swede to reach the milestone. He wasn't in the mood to celebrate.
"For the first two periods we had total control," Daniel Sedin said. "It's disappointing to lose."
Video: SJS@VAN: Marleau extends the lead on one-timer
San Jose had four shots in the second period despite two power plays, but tied the game early in the third on Pavelski's team-leading 27th goal. Pavelski beat defenseman Luca Sbisa to a dump-in along the boards, cut around him down below the goal line and back out in front of the net before beating Miller with a backhand on the blocker side.
"Some of the talk was 'down 1-0, we haven't played a good game at all up to that point,'" Pavelski said. "We lost a lot of battles, didn't do a lot of little things right. (When it's) 1-0 in the third, on the road, you have a chance. It's a spot you don't mind being in; this group has been there before. We came out and played a solid third."
The key to the turnaround, according to Vlasic, was finally getting inside the Canucks defense.
Hertl, who was robbed by Miller on a deflection early in the game, tipped Braun's floating wrist shot from the point past Miller's glove to put San Jose ahead at 6:49.
"We weren't creating much and then within two minutes, we played on the inside on both the goals and got rewarded," said Vlasic, who set a new single-season career high with 37 points when he assisted on Hertl's goal. "We haven't been doing that the last three games and once we do that, we get rewarded. That's what we did in the third."
Video: SJS@VAN: D. Sedin opens scoring with goal in 2nd
It was the 10th time this season the Canucks have blown a third-period lead.
"That shouldn't happen," Daniel Sedin said. "I don't want to say it's because we have a young team. We can do it for most of the game. We should be able to do it in the third too."
San Jose continued to pressure, drawing consecutive penalties, and Marleau one-timed a Joe Thornton pass over Miller's glove on a two-man advantage, ending a 2-for-15 slump over seven games for the NHL's second-ranked power play.
"We didn't have a lot of energy, we weren't creating much," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We just talked about the importance of these two points. We didn't want to give them any life in the standings. It was an important 20 minutes for us."
It was more important to Jones than making his first NHL start in Rogers Arena, a building where his father, Harvey, is the vice president and general manager of operations.
"It's great, but today was more important than just about me coming home," said Jones, who sometimes got to skate after Canucks practices growing up. "It was a long time ago, but going to games as a kid and seeing the dressing room was pretty cool."