Sharks On A Roll- The Vancouver Canucks won't see the San Jose Sharks again for four weeks. They probably can use the break too. Antti Niemi made 25 saves and Matt Pelech scored what would prove to be the game winning goal as the San Jose Sharks continued their recent mastery of the Canucks, this time 4-1 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. Pelech became the third straight Sharks rookie to score a game winning goal which set a franchise record (Thomas Hertl with the game winning goal against Phoenix this past Saturday, and Matt Nieto against the Rangers on Tuesday). Niemi once again quietly had the hot glove hand and has held the Canucks to just two goals in 120 minutes. The Sharks will return home from here to take on the Ottawa Senators at the Shark Tank before going out on the road again afterward.
Sharks Dominate Again Early- Once again the Sharks did a good job early of keeping the Canucks captive on their side of the ice for the first several minutes of the contest. In fact so much so that Canucks Head Coach John Tortorella was forced to use his team's timeout early to regroup his team and try to get them refocused. Though the Canucks seemingly stepped up their game after Tortorella's pep talk, it would not be enough for Vancouver to overcome what has become their nemeses in teal. Though the Canucks managed to stay with the Sharks and hold Team Teal at bay for the first twelve minutes of the game eventually the Sharks would find a way to break through and get some hard rubber past Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. With 7:45 remaining in the opening period Sharks Captain Joe Thornton carrying the puck up ice would feed it over to Brent Burns to his right. Burns then looked at Luongo and was able to fake a shot before passing it over to Vlasic in between two Canucks defenders. Vlasic took the feed pass from Burns and drilled a wrister that beat Luongo to his right to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. The Sharks would retain their one goal lead as Niemi was on top of his game. During a Canucks power play Niemi turned away point blank scoring chances from Henrik Sedin and Jason Garrison. Though Niemi would not get one of the three stars of the game by the end of the evening, he more than upheld his end of the bargain. The Sharks increased their lead to two goals late in the period when Pelech was in the right place at the right time. Pelech was on the receiving end of a feed pass from James Sheppard who had out-hustled to Canucks for the puck. Sheppard's pass hit Pelech's stick right on the tape and he drilled the rubber biscuit over Luongo for a 2-0 Team Teal lead.
Canucks Press The Issue- Things did not get any easier for the Canucks in the final two periods as their best efforts were not enough. The Sharks defensively remained strong and would not allow the Canucks too many quality chances. During the second period Niemi would deny Chris Higgins who tried a back handed shot while Tyler Kennedy was draped around him. Kennedy's defense however forced Higgins to shoot since Ryan Kessler who was flanking him to his left was screened out. Later Niemi would come up huge when he denied Daniel Sedin with a little help from Matt Irwin. The Canucks would get on the scoreboard with 9:40 remaining in the period when Mike Santorelli would deflect a shot on goal from Ryan Stanton. However the Sharks were not only not phased by the Vancouver goal, they would soon find a way to get it back and did so just 95 seconds later. With the Sharks pressing again in the Canucks zone, Tyler Kennedy was able to get the perfect feed pass from almost behind the goal to Patrick Marleau who would drill a one-timer that beat Luongo. With Marleau's score the Sharks negated the Canucks momentum and let some of the air out of Rogers Arena as well. Late in the period Thomas Hertl, who has held off of the score sheet tonight took a head shot from Alexander Elder that knocked his helmet off. Hertl would be okay, however the Sharks took some exception to this as well.
Sharks Continue to Shut Down Canucks in Third Period- The Sharks gave no quarter to Vancouver as Team Teal continued to control and dominate the final period. Whatever quality opportunities the Canucks would get would be turned away by Niemi and a Sharks defense that brought their A-Game to work. This would prove out to be the toughest of the three periods for the Canucks as they would only manage to put six shots on goal for the period. The Sharks put the game out of reach on a Brent Burns empty net goal on a puck that bounced towards him after Thonrton's attempt hit the lower half of the post. The Sharks also dominated the three stars of the game category as Tyler Kennedy and Marc-Edouard Vlasic picked up the second and first stars respectively.
Sharks Next Game- The Sharks return to the Shark Tank Saturday Night to host the visiting Ottawa Senators. The Senators of late have fielded some fairly decent teams and are a team that can give some strong competition to the Sharks. Ottawa features former Anaheim Duck Bobby Ryan who was dealt to the Canadian Capital city in the off-season. In addition to Ryan, the Senators bolster a strong line up led by Clark McCarthur, Joe Corvo, Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza and former Shark Milan Michalek. This should be a good wide open match up. The game starts at 7pm PT (10pm ET).
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***In Memory of @DiANNe0985, this one's for you!!! RIP!!! The Sharks Family will not forget.