Roberto Luongo stole the show and the game as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Sunday night despite allowing 40 shots. While the Sharks dominated much of the game and the offensive zone pressure, Luongo allowed only one goal in the winning effort.
for video highlights from Sunday’s game.
San Jose made their way to Vancouver on Sunday night for the second leg of their brief two-game Western Canada swing.
Looking to cool off the red hot Canucks, the Sharks jumped all over Vancouver early, drawing a holding penalty on Yannick Tremblay just 1:21 in the game. It was strength against strength as the NHL’s top-ranked power play went to work on the top-ranked penalty kill.
Though the Sharks buzzed around the Vancouver cage, Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo denied a pair of prime scoring chances by the Sharks top power play unit. Vancouver was able to kill the advantage, despite being peppered by the Sharks who registered five shots on the power play.
At the 11:33 mark, Evgeni Nabokov faced just his second shot on the night, but was forced to make a sensational stop. Nabokov made the save on the shot from his right, then made the follow up save on the rebound deflection off his own player.
Just 22 seconds later, the Sharks transition game quickly converted a Vancouver chance on one end into a scoring opportunity of their own. Josh Gorges fired a shot in on Luongo who made the save but couldn’t control the rebound. Sharks newcomer Thomas Plihal controlled the rebound and got another shot on Luongo who made a stand up save before sprawling to protect the open net. Mark Smith was unable to bat the puck out of mid-air and past Luongo as the game remained scoreless.
Two minutes later, the game took a noticeably physical tone, beginning with an innocent looking play in the Vancouver zone. With 8:20 remaining in the first, Joe Thornton
had enough of the clutching, grabbing and slashing he was enduring from the Canucks defenders. Thornton took matters into his own hands first laying out Vancouver forward Taylor Pyatt, then defenseman Mattias Ohlund on the same shift with clean, hard hits.
Though Thornton’s message was clearly heard by both teams, it was Vancouver that would earn the next two consecutive power plays. First it was Smith, then Matt Carle who were both sent off for hooking. The penalties, which came five minutes apart, gave the Canucks some life, but solid penalty killing kept the game scoreless after 20 minutes of play.
Opening the second period in style, the Sharks took the early 1-0 lead behind a highlight reel goal by Joe Pavelski
. Just 1:10 into the frame, Christian Ehrhoff activated from the point to keep a weak clearing attempt in the offensive zone. Ehrhoff’s effort cleared up Milan Michalek to get a shot on the Vancouver cage. Luongo made the initial save, but Pavelski controlled the puck between three Vancouver defenders, spun around quickly and from his knees beat Luongo with the backhand shot.
Pavelski’s goal seemed to inspire the Sharks as they began circling. Drawing consecutive minors on Vancouver, San Jose earned 15 seconds of a five-on-three advantage at 13:15 in the second. Though the Sharks pressed, Luongo stood on his head, making sprawling saves to keep Vancouver in the game.
A week holding call on Pavelski sent Vancouver on the power play and Pyatt made the Sharks pay. Sneaking in behind the San Jose defense, Pyatt, who appeared to be offsides on the play, took a pass at the Sharks blueline and went alone in on Nabokov. Pyatt beat Nabokov five-hole, tying the game at 1-1 at 12:31 of the second.
Just 2:18 seconds after they tied the game, Vancouver took the 2-1 lead. After scoring the first Vancouver goal, Pyatt set up the second goal. Pyatt moved into the Sharks zone on his backhand to Nabokov’s left, sent a puck to the crease and Sedin chipped it in.
Though the Sharks earned a couple of chances during a two-minute four-on-four, the two teams played the remaining five minutes scoreless as the Canucks took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes of play.
The third period opened with a little bit of a different look for the Sharks. Ryane Clowe
and Jonathan Cheechoo swapped spots on the top two lines. On his first shift on the top line, Cheechoo drew a penalty on Brendan Morrison sending the Sharks on their fourth power play of the game. But Vancouver lived up to their top billing and killed the man advantage.
Though the Sharks would earn one final power play and pressure the Canucks in their own zone, they were unable to come up with the equalizer. Vancouver trapped in the neutral zone and dumped the puck deep into the Sharks zone, making San Jose go 200 feet to tie the game.
With 3:23 remaining in the third, Plihal earned a golden opportunity on a wrap around after a great forechecking and cycling shift by his line. But the veteran of just two NHL games was unable to come up with his first career NHL goal.
Morrison added the empty-net goal for the Canucks with just 9.8 seconds remaining as the Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-1.
GOC YOU WHERE I WANT YOU
Perhaps overshadowed in the 3-1 loss was the superb play by Sharks center Marcel Goc. In 10:48 of ice time, Goc registered three shots on goal, accounted for three of the Sharks’ 12 hits, went seven of eight in the faceoff circle and earned a coincidental roughing minor. Goc’s combination of offensive skill, defensive responsibility and physical grit translated into a solid performance by the talented center.
Another notable performance on Sunday night was turned in by Goc’s linemate Thomas Plihal. Appearing in just his second career NHL game, Plihal showed his nose for the net, his ability to work hard in the corners and his ability to play the cycling game. Plihal’s 7:47 of ice time included a game-high seven shots, a double shift late in the third period and a wrap-around attempt that nearly tied the game with under four minutes to go.
Mark Bell (groin) missed his second consecutive game and Kyle McLaren (knee) continued his recovery as the Sharks were without the services of two of their more physical players on Sunday night. Rob Davison, Ville Nieminen and Scott Parker were also scratched for Sunday night’s game.
Marleau – Thornton – Clowe
Michalek – Pavelski – Cheechoo
Rissmiller – Brown – Grier
Plihal – Goc – Smith
Hannan – Gorges
Carle – Vlasic
Ehrhoff – Murray
Nabokov – Toskala
The Sharks return home after their two-game Western Canada swing for a four-game homestand. Due to a scheduling irregularity, San Jose’s next two home games will both be against the division rival Dallas Stars on Tuesday and Thursday. Game times are both set for 7:30 p.m. and both will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area in high-definition, on KFOX 98.5 FM and on Sharks Radio Network affiliates.
|FINAL ||1 ||2 ||3 ||T |
| ||San Jose ||0 ||1 ||0 ||1 |
| ||Vancouver ||0 ||2 ||1 ||3 || |
|SJS: ||PAVELSKI, J. (01:10 in 2nd) |
|VAN: ||PYATT, T. (PPG, 12:31 in 2nd), SEDIN, D. (14:49 in 2nd), MORRISON, B. (19:50 in 3rd) |