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Canucks still have Sharks number
Sharks offense sputters for 2nd consecutive game
11/26/11 - By Mike Lee -

Don't let the statistics fool you. The Sharks did not bombard Vancouver Canucks goaltender with bushels of shots, as the box score might suggest. The line says that Schneider stopped 43 shots en route to a 3-2 Canucks win over the Sharks on Saturday night, but the truth is, Vancouver controlled the team's first meeting since last spring's Western Conference Final series from start to finish. All Schneider needed to do was park himself in front of his team's net, and his teammates really did the rest.

Vancouver used the same approach at shutting down the Sharks as they did last May, when they knocked San Jose out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Regardless of the sweeping roster changes the Sharks made, their plan of attack was the same as the one they used to make an exit from the 2009-10 season.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan seemed to approve of this team's performance.

"There are some things that showed up in tonight's game that we have worked on in the past couple of days and if we play that way, at least for the last 50 minutes, we'll have enough success throughout the season," said McLellan.

Perhaps Vancouver just has San Jose's number, but it looked a lot like the same approach. Vancouver out-skated San Jose for most of the evening, beating the slower Sharks to pucks repeatedly. A pair of would be icing calls that the Canucks overturned by out-skating Sharks defenders to the puck was indicative of the lop-sided play that the sellout HP Pavilion crowd was forced to endure all night.

"With the team that we have, we've been waiting for it to all come together," said Canucks forward Daniel Sedin. "It was just a matter of time for us to start playing the way we thought we could. It has been a team effort."

Vancouver controlled the game from the get-go, putting plenty of rubber on Sharks netminder Antti Niemi. It was Niemi's own defense that contributed to the game's first goal. The Canucks grabbed a 1-0 lead 6 minutes into the game when a Manny Malhotra centering feed hit defenseman Douglas Murray in the skate, deflecting past Niemi. Murray was parked on the far post, guarding space when the puck deflected off him.

San Jose drew even with 4 minutes left in the period when Andrew Murray scored his first goal as a Shark. Murray was the benefactor of a blind pass from Andrew Desjardins , who sent a backhand feed from the right side. Murray had missed on a chance in tight, before circling back toward the net to deposit Desjardins pass.

"You see the guys here and they really get up for those games and they want to prove a point," said the Sharks forward.

The 2nd period has typically served as the Sharks bread and butter scoring period, but the Canucks turned the tables on them, putting a pair of goal past Niemi. Joe Thornton opened the door on the first goal by hacking Ryan Kessler with a slash that earned himself a two minute respite in the penalty box.

Henrik Sedin deposited a rebound on the ensuing power play midway through the period from the bottom of the left circle. It was the only power play the Canucks would see, and they made good use of it. The shark son the other hand, were shutout with the man-advantage on three chances.

Andrew Alberts scored his 1st goal of the season less than a minute later, firing a shot from the left point that seemed to deflect over Niemi's left shoulder.

The Sharks didn't change their game plan entering the 3rd period, which didn't seem to help their plight. The Canucks simply sat back and let the cock do the rest. A hooking penalty to Sedin at the 9:07 mark setup a chance for the Sharks to get back into the game, but the lack of much cohesion made things easier for Schneider.

McLellan pulled Niemi with 95 seconds left in regulation, which was the spark the Sharks offense finally needed to engage.

Patrick Marleau cut the Canucks lead to a lone goal with his 10th goal of the season at 18:45. Marleau chipped a Thornton feed past Schneider after cutting toward the net from outside the right post.

The goal was too little, too late, as the Sharks couldn't sustain control of the puck in the Vancouver zone.

"I saw a lot of the shots and it definitely helped the power play", added Schneider. "Their power play unit is so good that you have to have a team effort. It got a little bit hairy at the end, but it was a good effort."



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
VAN 1 2 0 3
SJ 1 1 1 2
1st period - 1, VAN, Malhotra 2 (Hansen, Ballard), 6:13. 2, SJ, A. Murray 1 (Desjardins, Vandermeer), 16:03.
2nd period - 3, VAN, H. Sedin 8 (Hamhuis, Bieksa), 10:17, (pp). 4, VAN, Albert 1 (Kesler), 11:07.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Marleau 10 (Thornton, Pavelski), 18:45.
Penalties
1st period - Volpatti, VAN (fighting major), 2:10; Winchester, SJ (fighting major), 2:10.
2nd period - Lapierre, VAN (boarding), 7:02; Thornton, SJ (slashing), 8:52; Salo, VAN (hooking), 15:42.
3rd period - H. Sedin, VAN (hooking), 9:07.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
VAN - Schneider 45 43
SJ - Niemi 27 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
VAN 11 12 4 27
SJ 10 19 16 45
Power Play Conversion
VAN 1 of 1
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Cory Schneider
Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: LaRue, Kozari. Linesmen: Mach, Rody.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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