The San Jose Sharks played host to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night in front of a packed house at HP Pavilion. The Sharks looked to rebound from three straight loses, but where unable to do that tonight, as two power play goals midway through the third period gave the Canucks a 3-1 win and their second straight victory.
Evgeni Nabokov took the net for the second consecutive game hoping to get the San Jose Sharks, winless in their last three contests, back in the win column. Nabokov squared off against Dan Cloutier who came into the game boasting a 6-2-1 record in 10 games played.
A top priority for the Sharks Wednesday night was to shut down Vancouver right wing Todd Bertuzzi. In his previous three games, Bertuzzi notched six points (five goals, one assist), while leading the Canucks to an impressive 4-1 victory against Detroit on Sunday night.
The first action of the night came at the five-minute mark, when Josh Green led a breakaway. The left wing was hooked from behind by Kyle McLaren, breaking up the chance, but also sending the big defenseman to the penalty box.
Despite being shorthanded, Marcel Goc nearly put the Sharks on the board first, when he crashed the net and flicked a backhander on goal. Cloutier deflected the puck all the way out to the point where Brad Stuart riffled a wide open slapshot, just missing the net by inches. San Jose killed off the rest of the penalty, sending the game back to even strength.
It was Richard Park, however, that would notch a shorthanded goal 11 minutes into the contest when he led a two-on-one, backhanding a puck past an already committed Nabokov giving the Canucks a 1-0 lead.
With six minutes left in the first, Scott Thornton, in his first game back after missing the last six with a groin injury, dropped the gloves with Wade Brookbank.
The Sharks went on their second power play of the night when Brendan Morrison hooked Stuart. San Jose couldn’t manage to get a shot on goal during the two-minute advantage, as Vancouver kept clearing the puck out of the zone.
The first period ended with San Jose trailing 1-0.
Team Teal came out guns blazing to start the second, tilting the ice toward Cloutier for several minutes. First it was Patrick Marleau skating behind the goal line, reaching back toward the crease and nearly tucking it in.
Then a terrific defensive play by Josh Langfeld set up the tying tally. With the puck in the Sharks defensive zone, Langfeld beat the Canucks forward to the puck and knocked it out of the zone. Marcel Goc jumped on it and was off on a two-on-one with Milan Michalek. Goc kept the puck the entire way and smoothly wristed the puck top shelf on Cloutier.
San Jose looked to add to their lead when Ed Jovanovski boarded Steve Bernier and gave San Jose their fourth power play. San Jose put up three shots, but could not find the back of the net. During an ensuing advantage, Goc came ever-so-close to scoring his second and taking the lead, but his shot went just wide.
After two periods the shots favored Vancouver by one, but the score was even at one.
Neither club could muster much offense early in the third even as two minutes of four-on-four play opened up the ice five minutes into the period.
Two unanswered power play goals by Jovanovski and Anson Carter midway through the third sent San Jose scrambling with one minute left in the game. The Sharks pulled Nabokov, but despite numerous shots on goal, San Jose could not slip one past Cloutier. Vancouver defeated San Jose by the final score of 3-1.