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Marleau's hot hand downs Canucks
Mats Sundin's first goal for Vancouver wasted
1/10/09 - By Mike Lee

Finishing off the last leg of their 3-game road trip through Western Canada, the Sharks overcame two sluggish periods of hockey to take a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night in British Columbia. Patrick Marleau scored a pair of 3rd period goals to help propel the Sharks to their 31st victory of the season. Backup goaltender Brian Boucher stopped 24 shots to earn his 9th win in 11 starts this season.

San Jose seemed unable to match the Canuck speed and pursuit of the puck, but they managed to score before Vancouver. The Canucks did overcome San Jose leads twice, but Marleau stepped up big in the 3rd period.

The Sharks were guilty of too much watching and too little dictating early in the contest. Newly signed centerman Mats Sundin has been the focus of Vancouver hockey, so all eyes were on the Swede, who just missed on a goal at the midpoint of the 1st period.

A delay of game penalty to Canucks goaltender Curtis Sanford at 15:29 of the period was followed by a holding the stick infraction by Daniel Sedin 10 seconds later gave the Sharks a lengthy 5-on-3 power play. Vancouver killed off the first penalty, but a fortuitous deflection for San Jose resulted in the game's first goal of the evening.

Rob Blake threw a puck in front of the net, with Milan Michalek created noise in front of Sanford. As the Blake shot skittered through the top of the crease, the puck hit Canucks defenseman Ryan Kessler in the skate, deflecting it past Sanford.

The Sharks lack of jump caught up to them late in the period, when Douglas Murray was whistled for delay of game, when he knocked the net off its moorings on a wild sequence in front of Boucher.

Sundin sent the GM Place crowd into a frenzy by scoring his first goal as a Canuck on the ensuing power play. A Kevin Bieksa shot hit a player in the slot and kicked out to Sundin near the left dot. Sundin had a wide open net and buried the puck with 8 seconds left in the period.

The pace picked up for both teams to start the 2nd period, and San Jose grabbed the lead back 2 minutes in on a Mike Grier blast from the top of the left circle. Sanford had a clear look at the shot, but it sailed over his left shoulder for Grier's 9th of the season.

Sharks rookie Brad Staubitz took an elbowing minor 38 seconds later, then exacerbated the issue by drawing a roughing penalty after trying to goad Kevin Bieksa into a fight. The San Jose penalty kill unit got through both minors to keep the game at 2-1.

That would last until the 14:33 mark, when Vancouver would knotted the game up after a Sharks power play expired. Shane O'Brien jumped out of the box and took a Henrik Sedin feed up the right wing, before sliding a pass to Daniel Sedin for the one timer. Sedin's shot slipped past Boucher for the 2-2 tie.

Vancouver pressed the matter late in the period and came within an eyelash from scoring on a scrum in front of the net with 9 seconds left. Kyle Wellwood kicked the puck toward the net, but Boucher dove to this left to smother the puck. The faceoff that followed was no less adventurous for San Jose, who narrowly escaped the period still tied.

Sundin opened the 3rd period by taking a lazy interference penalty, but the Sharks failed to capitalize on that man advantage. Sundin would take a high sticking penalty at 7:30 of the period, but this time San Jose cashed in.

Patrick Marleau was credited with his 22nd goal of the season, after a Dan Boyle shot deflected off his skate. Joe Thornton had Sanford lined up with the puck in front of the net, but the big centerman couldn't pull the trigger. Skating away from the net, Thornton dished the puck to Dan Boyle, who pinched in before throwing the puck into a flurry of skates.

Marleau added an insurance goal with 2:06 to play on a miscue by the Canucks deep in their own zone. Tomas Plihal picked Alex Edler's pocket behind the net, then chipped the puck out to Marleau in the slot. The Sharks captain had his back to the net, but he sent a backhand shot that clipped Sanford in the left shoulder and into the net.

Game Notes:

The Sharks will return home to play 7 of their next 8 games at HP Pavilion, including 4 straight before the All Star break.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 2 4
VAN 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Blake 7 (Thornton, Clowe), 17:37, (pp). 2, VAN, Sundin 1 (Bieksa, H. Sedin), 19:52, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Grier 9 (Goc, Vlasic), 2:00. 4, VAN, D. Sedin (O'Brien, H. Sedin), 14:33.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Marleau 22 (Boyle, Thornton), 9:28, (pp). 6, SJ, Marleau, 23 (Plihal), 17:54.
Penalties
1st period - Blake, SJ (boarding), 6:22; Kessler, VAN (slashing), 9:00; Cheechoo, SJ (hooking), 14:30; Sanford, VAN (delay of game), 15:29; D. Sedin, VAN (holding the stick), 15:39; Murray, SJ (delay of game), 18:03.
2nd period - Staubitz, SJ (elbowing), 2:38; Staubitz, SJ (roughing), 2:38; O'Brien, VAN, holding the stick), 12:24.
3rd period - Sundin, VAN (interference), 0:31; Goc, SJ (slashing), 6:53; Sundin, VAN (high sticking), 7:30.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Boucher 26 24
VAN - Sanford 27 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 7 10 27
VAN 13 11 2 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 6
VAN 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Rob Blake
Brian Boucher
Attendence
18,630
Officials
Referees: Rooney, Walsh. Linesmen: Sharrers, Wheler.

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