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Niemi bails out Sharks in BC
Gomez and Burish finally score for San Jose
3/5/13 - By Mike Lee -

If the season turnaround is ever going to happen, this is as good a time as any for the San Jose Sharks. Turning in performances driven by some intestinal fortitude is one way to get the ball rolling, which is exactly what the Sharks did in Vancouver on Tuesday night. San Jose surrendered a two goal lead, then fought off a horrendous penalty in overtime before winning a 3-2 game in the shootout.

San Jose was outclassed in the talent department, but they found a way to get the job done. It was also a night of firsts for San Jose. Two players scored their first goals for San Jose and another made his Sharks debut.

Those goals came courtesy of Scott Gomez and Adam Burish. Rookie Bracken Kearns skated in a Sharks sweater for the first time in his limited NHL career.

Antti Niemi gave his teammates a chance to win by making 36 saves, many of the monster variety. The Sharks netminder stopped 17 shots alone in the opening period, weathering a flurry of rubber that Vancouver directed his way.

He came up even bigger in the overtime period, stopping 5 shots that all had a chance to decide the contest. Vancouver skated with a full two-minute 4-on-3 power play in the extra period, after Gomez was called for a ridiculous goaltender interference penalty. Gomez was pushed into Canucks netminder Cory Schneider and barely made contact with him, but it was enough to hand Vancouver with a golden opportunity to win the game against three defenders.

San Jose killed all five Canuck power plays, including the biggest in overtime.

The Canucks had to be kicking themselves after their 17 shot 1st period, because the Sharks skated off the ice at the first intermission with a 1-0 lead. Gomez bagged his 1st goal in teal at 7:42, after throwing a puck on net from the high slot, while James Sheppard and Ryane Clowe created traffic in front of Schneider.

Burish got his name on the score sheet 4:43 into the 2nd period after Michal Handzus was sent off for holding. Brad Stuart hit Burish with a bullet as the Sharks forward was streaking out of his own zone on the penalty kill. Burish skated up ice and snapped a wrist shot from 30 feet, beating Schneider for his 1st goal of the season.

Vancouver cut the Sharks lead in half at 13:23 of the 2nd period after Henrik Sedin was the benefactor of a deflection off Matt Irwin after Sedin's brother Daniel threw the puck to the front of the Sharks net. Henrik Sedin was lurking in front of Antti Niemi and simply swept a backhand chance past the sharks goaltender after the puck landed at his feet.

Shoddy puck maintenance cost the Sharks with 24.4 seconds left in the period. Douglas Murray coughed the puck up as San Jose tried existing their own zone, then the Canucks did a 180 and scored. Jannik Hansen took a drop pass from Mason Raymond near the left dot and pumped a shot passed Niemi who was screened on the play.

Sheppard was sent off for tripping at 13:26 of the 3rd period, setting up a tense moment for San Jose. Stuart was high-sticked on the penalty kill losing parts of two teeth but no call was made. Vancouver failed to cash in on the power play.

Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis almost ended the game with 59 seconds left in regulation when his shot rang off the post.

After the Sharks also escaped the harrowing overtime period, they would make things interesting in the shootout. Chris Higgins scored in the opening round of the shootout for the Canucks only goal. Handzus and Dan Boyle failed to match Higgins, which required Logan Couture to score to extend the shootout. He did so by snapping a shot to Schneider's stick side. Joe Pavelski ended things by scoring in the 4th round after Alex Burrows missed for the Canucks.

Game Notes:

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan tied the franchise record for wins by a coach (206), matching Ron Wilson's mark set from 2002 to 2008.



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Scoring
1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 1 1 0 0 1 3
VAN 0 2 0 0 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Gomez 1 (Vlasic Stuart), 7:42.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Burish 1 (Stuart), 4:43, (sh). 3, VAN, H. Sedin 4 (D. Sedin, Burrows), 13:23. 4, VAN, Hansen 6 (Raymond, Hamhuis), 19:35.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - VAN: Higgins (goal), Edler (miss), Hansen (miss), Burrows (miss). SJ: Handzus (miss), Boyle (miss), Couture (goal), Pavelski (goal).
Penalties
1st period - Edler, VAN (tripping), 2:30.
2nd period - Booth, VAN (slashing), 2:01; Handzus, SJ (holding), 4:19; Clowe, VAN (tripping) 14:36; Stuart, SJ (interference), 19:54.
3rd period - Sheppard, SJ (tripping), 13:26; Edler, VAN (holding), 15:47.
Overtime - Gomez, VAN (goaltender interference), 1:34.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 38 36
VAN - Schneider 30 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 7 7 9 8 30
VAN 17 7 9 5 38
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
VAN 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Dan Hamhuis
Brad Stuart
Jannik Hansen
Attendence
18,910
Officials
Referees: Meier, St Laurent. Linesmen: Lazarowich, Galloway.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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