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Special teams fails to deliver
Sharks losing streak hits four games
3/18/10 - By Mike Lee -

Lack of detail and consistency continues to be the theme on the Sharks current road trip, and losses continue to mount. San Jose dropped their 4th straight game, in a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. The four Sharks Olympians returned to the site of their gold medal performance, which was seemingly the last time the four players played with any urgency. The Canucks have struggled of late as well, but the Sharks lack-luster play turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.

The Sharks top line of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau continued to sputter and as that line goes, so goes San Jose . Each player was on the ice when the Sharks surrendered the game-winning goal to Vancouver . That goal came courtesy of Vancouver ’s 4th line. It came as a result of poor defense by that top line.

San Jose may not have been in that position, had they stayed out of the penalty box early in the game. The Sharks created problems for themselves by taking early penalties and then failing to stop the Canucks on the penalty kill.

A Joe Thornton high-sticking penalty at 8:14 put the Canucsk in position to open the game’s scoring. The irony is that a Canuck lifted Thornton ’s stick, causing it to hit Canuck Alex Burrows to draw the penalty.

Alex Edler through a puck on net through traffic that beat Evgeni Nabokov a mere 17 seconds into the power play. Nabokov had several bodies in front of the net screening him, but he also didn’t help himself by shading to one side of the net.

The Canucks used the same recipe to score again three minutes later.

Kesler made it 2-0 at 12:14 on the Canucks second power play after Jamie McGinn took a careless holding penalty. Nabokov stopped a shot in tight, but his teammates sat back and allowed Vancouver to gain control of the puck. Kessler looped around the left circle and snapped a shot from the slot, using a screen to slip the puck past the Sharks netminder.

The Sharks opened the 2nd period on a better note, cracking the score sheet on a nice power move by Ryane Clowe. The forward carried the puck up the right wing, then muscled around former Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and cut across the slot. Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was forced to go down in order to defend against the cutting forward. Clowe waited for Luongo to commit before lifting his shot over the fallen netminder.

Ryan Johnson scored his first goal of the season with just under 4 minutes left in the period, thanks to the Sharks static approach to defense. Johnson blew past two defenders in the slot, then punched his own rebound past Nabokov after driving to the net. No Shark elected to cover him on his way to the net, allowing the put back.

Luongo robbed Devin Setoguchi with 10 minutes to play in the 3rd period. Setoguchi was parked on the left post and a pass through the slot found him and a wide open net. The Canucks netminder slid to his right, stuffing the sure goal.

San Jose would cut the lead to 3-2 when Joe Pavelski bagged his 21st goal of the season with 3:08 left in regulation. The Sharks forward swatted at a rebound in front of the net, roofing a shot past Luongo from the top of the crease after Kent Huskins put the puck on net.

The Sharks pulled Nabokov with 1:30 to play and the Sharks promptly turned the puck over in their own zone, but Pavelski dove to block an empty-net chance to keep the Sharks alive.

They would generate one last chance in deep, but Vancouver cleared the puck to send San Jose to another loss.

Game Notes:
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan won’t have an opportunity to impose any corporal punishment via practice, because the Sharks play on Friday night in Calgary . The Flames are on the outside looking in to the playoff picture, sitting in the 9th spot in the Western Conference.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 1 2
VAN 2 1 0 3
1st period - 1, VAN, Edler 4 (Ehrhoff, Kesler), 8:31, (pp). 2, VAN, Kesler 21 (Edler, Dmitra), 12:14, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Clowe 17 (Pavelski, Huskins), 4:00. 4, VAN, Johnson 1 (Rypien, O’Brien), 16:48.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Pavelski 21 (Huskins, Setoguchi), 16:52.
Penalties
1st period - Burrows, VAN (tripping), 2:45; Thornton , SJ (high sticking), 8:14; McGinn, SJ (holding), 11:24; Heatley, SJ (hooking), 14:11.
2nd period - Boyle, SJ (roughing), 3:09; Kesler, VAN (roughing), 3:09.
3rd period - Kesler, VAN (hooking), 12:59.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 26 23
VAN - Luongo 34 32
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 16 12 34
VAN 13 9 4 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
VAN 2 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Ryan Kesler
Roberto Luongo
Joe Pavelski
Attendence
18,810
Officials
Referees: Kimmerly, Peel. Linesmen: Cvik, Nelson.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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