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Torres stakes SJ to 2-0 series lead
Sharks overcome 3rd period deficit to force overtime
5/3/13 - By Mike Lee -

Winning one of two games on the road to open a playoff series is considered successful in the NHL. Winning both games is essentially putting a stranglehold on your opponent. San Jose returns home on Friday night with a foot firmly pressed on the throats of the Vancouver Canucks after taking Game 2 of their Western Conference Quarter Final series with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win at Rogers Arena in British Columbia. Former Canuck forward Raffi Torres scored one of the biggest goals of his career 5:31 into overtime to propel the Sharks to a 2-0 series lead.

Torres converted on a 2-on-1 break after Brent Burns stepped in front of an Alex Edler shot in the Sharks zone, then raced up ice with Torres on his left wing. Burns carried the puck up ice with Kevin Bieksa the only Canucks defender in his way. Burns headed straight for the right post, freezing Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, before sliding a pass to his left where Torres lifted a one-time chance into the Vancouver net.

The goal was a remarkable moment considering how the Sharks got to overtime in the first place.

Joe Thornton staked San Jose to a 1-0 lead in the 1st period after Luongo denied two short range chances, but couldn't stop a third shot during the scoring sequence. Luongo stopped a Brent Burns blast from the right point, as the puck traversed through traffic. Thornton gobbled up the rebound and tried jamming a shot from the right side of the crease, but again Luongo made the save. He wouldn't be as lucky as Thornton used his long reach, extending his stick to the left of the goaltender, sweeping it home for his 1st goal of the playoffs.

The Sharks went on the power play for the second time in the game a minute after Thornton's goal, but were limited in throwing any pucks in Luongo's direction.

Both Luongo and Antti Niemi put on a goaltending clinic in the 2nd period. San Jose was limited to 8 shots on goal, which excluded a Thornton shot that clanked off the right post.

The Canucks countered a minute after Thornton's near goal when Alex Burrows raced up ice on a 2-on-1 break, only to be stoned by Niemi.

Trailing by a goal to start the 3rd period, the Canucks went to work. Aided by a tripping penalty to Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins, the Canucks tied the game 59 seconds into the period. Ryan Kesler blasted a puck from the point that found netting as Burrows sat parked in front of Niemi. The Sharks goaltender tried peeking over Burrows left shoulder just as Kesler was striking the puck. By the time he picked it up, it was too late.

Disaster struck 6 minutes later when Dan Boyle tried hitting Joe Pavelski with a pass from behind the San Jose net. Rather than collect the pass, Pavelski deflected it into the slot, where Kesler was looming. The Canucks forward stepped into a slap shot that clipped the left post, finding twine for the 2-1 Vancouver lead.

Vancouver did a good job of clamping down on the Sharks attempt to get pucks to Luongo for the first 19 minutes of the period. Unfortunately for the Canucks, the period is 20 minutes long.

San Jose was forced to pull Niemi with 1:30 to play. In what may go down as the "what if" moment for the Canucks, Jannik Hansen carried the puck up the right wing and tried firing the puck on the open net from the mid-line. Hansen's shot missed wide left, keeping the Sharks within striking distance, and strike they would.

Dan Boyle threw the puck on net from the right side, but it was deflected out into the slot where Patrick Marleau collected it and put a shot on net from 15 feet out. Luongo appeared to have the shot smothered, but it slipped between his pads and sat perched just inches from the goal line. Having followed his shot to the net, Marleau spotted the puck and got is stick behind Luongo to tap it home as he cut behind the Canucks goaltender with 55.1 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Sharks benched erupted as referee Brad Watson pointed to the goal to signify that Marleau had knotted the game up. It was Marleau's 54th career playoff goal.

In the playoffs, there is no losers point. The first team that scores wins, and the team that doesn't gets to play the missed opportunities over and over in their head, as the Canucks probably did following the game.

Burns and Torres ended things relatively early into the overtime, limiting the extra skating time that can wear teams out in subsequent games.

Niemi finished the evening with 29 saves, and improved to 9-2 in career playoff overtime games. He's 6-1 with San Jose. The Sharks netminder is 5-3 in playoff games in Vancouver.

Game Notes:

Martin Havlat was scratched from the game after suffering a lower body injury in Game 1. Scott Gomez was a healthy scratch, missing second consecutive game. Joe Thornton was a +3 on the evening. Torres, Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were a +2. Thornton also lost 16 of 25 faceoffs for a less-than Thornton like performance in the circle.


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1 2 3 1OT T
SJ 1 0 1 1 3
VAN 0 0 2 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 1 (Burns, Stuart), 13:22.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, VAN, Kesler 1 (H. Sedin, D. Sedin), 0:59, (pp). 2, VAN, Kesler 2 (unassisted), 7:06. 4, SJ, Marleau 2 (Boyle, Pavelski), 19:04.
1st Overtime - 5, SJ, Torres 1 (Burns), 5:31.
1st period - Garrison, VAN (cross checking), 6:13; Alberts, VAN (roughing), 14:38.
2nd period - Burrows, VAN (goaltender interference), 0:32; Burns, SJ (tripping), 8:18; H. Sedin, VAN (delay of game - face off violation), 8:22; Wingels, SJ (high sticking), 13:33.
3rd period - Desjardines, SJ (tripping), 0:39; Bieksa, VAN (roughing), 3:43.
1st Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 31 29
VAN - Luongo 33 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 1OT T
SJ 10 8 8 7 33
VAN 4 14 9 4 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 5
VAN 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Ryan Kesler
Raffi Torres
Patrick Marleau
Referees: Kowal, Watson. Linesmen: Miller, Wheler.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees


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