EPILOGUE: This was a good game by both sides. Vancouver outshot San Jose, 38-29, and outchanced the Sharks, 71-45. One can be sure that Coach Todd McLellan will be addressing this tomorrow and Tuesday. The Sharks will be successful with puck possession and more chances on the net. Henrik Sedin had just one shot, but he scored on that backhand. Those who watched the game had to enjoy watching the puck movement and the skating by both sides. Some Sharks pluses: Couture's four takeaways; Thornton winning 67 percent (10) of his faceoffs; Wallin with four blocked shots.
20:00 -- It's done. Canucks take a 1-0 lead in the series with a 3-2 win. So for the first time in the playoffs, the Sharks trail in a series. Ah, but it's only one game, folks.
19:58 -- Sharks call time out.
19:05 -- Niemi is out of the net. There's 32 seconds left in the 4-on-4. Canucks call time out.
17:16 -- Boyle goes to the box for holding and holding and Laiperre goes for diving. 4x4 hockey.
17:10 -- Daniel Sedin made a nice pass from the right wing to Burrows on the left point and Niemi made a good save.
QUICK NOTE: No team has been down in their respective series, yet.
16:21 -- Lots of elapsed time with the notes here. But it's been up and down hockey, folks. Vancouver has 12 shots in the period, compared to six for San Jose. Vancouver is outshooting San Jose, 37-28, for the game. You have to love the pace of this game. It's just hockey. No nonsense. Move the puck, make good passes, get chances, skate hard.
8:21 -- Canucks get the power play goal. Sharks can't get the puck out of the defensive zone. Canucks put the puck on the net and Henrik Sedin gets the loose one in front and scores his second of the postseason. Christian Ehrhoff started it with a pass from the right point to Henrik, who was cutting from the left. Kesler gets the other assist. Vancouver 3, San Jose 2.
7:34 - Oh oh. Heatley goes to the box for an elbow on Torres. Canucks go on their fourth power play.
7:02 -- Canucks score. Kevin Bieksa gets a shot from the right point after taking a pass from Alex Burrows in the left corner. When healthy, Bieksa can be trouble. We're back to Square One, 2-2. Henrik Sedin, who got the puck to Burrows on the left wing, gets the helper. Bieksa gets his second.
6:43 -- Very close period so far. Shots are even, 4-4. Of course, neither team wants to give up a goal right now. One gets the feeling this will be yet another one-goal game for the Sharks.
QUICK NOTES NO. 2: By the way, Ryan Kesler has three shots and is 38 percent in the faceoff dot.
QUICK NOTES: When leading after two, San Jose is 4-1. When trailing after two, the Canucks are 0-2.
SYNOPSIS: Vancouver outshooting San Jose, 24-22, for the game. In the period, Vancouver got the edge, 13-12. White and Couture each have four shots to pace San Jose. Vancouver is outchancing San Jose, 45-32. The Canucks are outhitting the Sharks, 31-22. By the way, Couture has four takeaways and Wallin has four blocked shots!
20:00 -- Both teams are skating with lots of urgency. But after the second 20, the Sharks have a 2-1 lead.
18:05 -- Oh my goodness! Hansen gets a pass in the slot from Torres on the left wing and Niemi makes the pad save!
14:13 -- Sharks have the edge in shots, 9-5, for the period. White, Setoguchi, Eager and Couture each have three shots for the Sharks.
11:01 -- Did you see the Swedish sandwich behind the net with Niclas Wallin and Henrik Sedin? Ouch. Wallin is a big man at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. This is close, folks. San Jose has the overall edge in shots, 16-15. They're also closing in on the faceoffs, 54-46, Vancouver.8:44 -- SHARKS SCORE! One thing the Sharks work on before practice is tips in front of the net. Dan Boyle throws it at the net from the left point and Patrick Marleau gets a stick on it and taps it in. Marleau gets his fourth goal of the playoffs. Boyle gets one assist. Thornton gets the other. SAN JOSE 2, VANCOUVER 1.
7:44 -- Sharks go on their first power play. Mason Raymond for the hold.
6:46 -- Sharks had some good pressure. Vancouver outshooting them, 4-1, though.
5:52 -- Sharks 3-for-3 on penalty kill.
3:52 -- Power play No. 3 for the Canucks. Huskins goes to the box. Alex Burrows drove the right wing and Huskins tried to slow him down with his stick.
1:49 -- Good cycle by Canucks gets them the goal. Maxim Lapierre dumps it into the zone, Jannik Hansen gets it behind the net and tosses it to Lapierre in front. Tie game: San Jose 1, Vancouver 1. Lapierre gets his first of the playoffs. Raffi Torres gets the other assist.
SYNOPSIS: Good energy by both sides. It tailed off as the period continued, but that's expected. Love the little battles in the faceoff circle. Thornton and Kesler are looking like they're in a lacrosse or rugby scrum. All legal. A long time ago, a coach once said that to get an edge in the dot, there's no problem in sticking your head over the dot as much as possible. Eager is looking like an eager beaver (oh, we couldn't resist). In three minutes, the man has three shots. Very quietly, Daniel Sedin has four shots.
20:00 -- You need a little luck in the playoffs and Luongo tried to clear the puck to the wing. Simple play, done many times before. But he put it on Thornton's stick and he shot it into the open net as Luongo was scrambling to get back. All in all, a close period. Vancouver had 11 shots to San Jose's 10. Vancouver still dominating in the dot, 71-29 percent.
18:47 -- SHARKS STRIKE FIRST! Luongo tries to clear the puck from behind the net, tosses it out to the left wing and right on the stick of Joe Thornton, who puts a wrister into the open net. Thornton gets his third and it's unassisted. SAN JOSE 1, VANCOUVER 0
18:27 -- Have you noticed that the fourth lines for both sides are getting lots of run tonight? Eager got off a good shot a few moments ago and we've seen a lot of Scott Nichol and Raffi Torres, too. Shots are even, 9-9.
15:16 -- Penalty over.
13:16 - Ben Eager tried to avoid Roberto Luongo, but got a piece of him and a Canuck player as he drove to the net. Can you say Interference? Power play again for Vancouver.
12:20 -- Shots on goal getting closer -- 5-4 for San Jose. Canucks still strong in the faceoff dot, 67-33. Hits are close to even, 9-7, Vancouver.
11:09 -- Penalty killed. No shots for Vancouver on the PP.
9:09 -- Kesler gets a high stick. Douglas Murray
goes to the box.
6:17 -- Phew. This period has gone by quick. Lots of fast hockey and both sides are in to it. Vancouver is outshooting San Jose, 4-2, and winning in the faceoff dot, 75-25.
0:00 -- See how Kesler and Thornton are butting heads at center ice on the opening faceoff? Is this a rugby scrum?
YET ANOTHER QUICK NOTE: The Canadian Winter Olympic gold medal foursome of Dan Heatley, Patrick Marleau
, Joe Thornton
and Dan Boyle
won their hardware in Rogers Arena back in 2010. Joe Pavelski
took the silver in the same building, too...
QUICK NOTE NO. 2: Vancouver hasn't played since May 9. That's almost a week between games and they're home, too.
QUICK NOTE: As the puck is about to drop, Jason Demers
will not dress tonight. Kent Huskins will make his 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. He's been out since Feb. 22 with an upper body injury.
Good afternoon everyone! Welcome to the live blog for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks.
As we settle in for what promises to be an interesting afternoon of hockey, it’s time for some trivial, some may call these “useless,” facts (actually, we prefer “trivial” and these are good as conversation starters):
A FIRST: This is the first time the teams have met in the postseason. The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs have seen a few firsts for the Sharks. Until this year, they never played Los Angeles (dispatched in six games of the quarterfinals) and now Vancouver. That means the only two teams San Jose have never played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are Columbus and Minnesota.
OPENING ON THE ROAD: San Jose had opened their last eight postseason series at HP Pavilion. The last time the Sharks started a series on the road was the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals vs. Detroit.
O CANADA: Yes sir, the eyes of the country north of the border are on this series. After all, the Canucks are the lone Canadian team still standing after Montreal was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Boston. On the playoff roster, 18 of San Jose’s 27 players list Canada as their place of birth.
O CANADA II: The last time San Jose had a playoff series vs. a Canadian team was in 2008 against Calgary (San Jose won in seven games of the quarterfinals).
O CANADA III: Entering tonight’s series opener, the Sharks have played one Canadian team (2004, Calgary) and one American team (2010, Chicago).
O CANADA IV: Against Canadian teams in the postseason, San Jose is 2-3. Broken down: Calgary 2-1, Edmonton 0-1, Toronto 0-1.
PERFECT: Antti Niemi
hasn’t lost a playoff series yet. Going back to last year with Chicago, he’s won six straight series.
CONNECTIONS: Kyle Wellwood played for Vancouver (2008-10). Ex-Sharks now with the Canucks: Christian Ehrhoff (2003–09), Mikael Samuelsson (2000-01) and the injured Manny Malhotra (2009-10).
LOOKING FOR A GOOD START: The opponents have outscored San Jose, 13-7, in the first period. Vancouver has done the opposite, 12-8.
By the way, this is day No. 33 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
REFEREES: Stephen Walkom and Steve Kozari
LINESMEN: Jay Sharrers and Greg Devorski