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Sharks push Canucks to the brink
Couture and Pavelski power SJ to a Game 3 victory
5/5/13 - By Mike Lee -

The big question on everyone's mind heading into Game 3 of the Sharks Western Conference Quarter Finals matchup with the Vancouver Canucks, was if San Jose would play as well as they did on the road during their playoff series. San Jose didn't exactly set the world on fire while on the road during the regular season, so their fantastic 2-0 start in Vancouver was a contradiction to their regular season performance. The Sharks lost only twice at home during the regular season, but could they be as dominant during the playoffs. Sunday night's 5-2 shellacking of the Canucks at HP Pavilion made it clear that home is still a safe haven for the 6th seeded Sharks.

San Jose wouldn't need any overtime heroics on Sunday, as Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored a pair of goals each to pace the Sharks. Couture added a pair of assists to tie a Sharks franchise record for points by a single player in a playoff game.

Pavelski jump started the Sharks with the first two goals of the game, providing San Jose with a buffer that allowed them to press the Canucks. The first of his two came on a 5-on-3 power play after Dale Weise took a roughing penalty at 12:40 of the opening period, and Dan Hamhuis slashed Sharks captain Joe Thornton 24 seconds later.

Pavelski staked the Sharks to a 1-0 lead with a one-time redirect of a Couture feed while on the two-man advantage. Thornton waited for an opening before sliding a pass to Couture in the slot. Couture then floated a pass to Pavelsk on the left post, where a flick of the wrist lifted the puck past Cory Schneider who was making his first appearance in the series.

Pavelski added his second goal 7:20 into the 2nd period, tipping a Tommy Wingels shot between Schneider's pads. The Sharks forward was floating through the slot and decided to pivot as he crossed in front of the Canucks netminder. By doing so, he was able to see Wingels shot coming from the right wing boards, and get his stick up high enough to get the blade on the shot. The puck changed directions, skipping in front of Schneider before slipping though the five-hole for the 2-0 Sharks lead.

Alex Burrows cut the Sharks lead in half less than four minutes later, by snapping a cross-ice feed from Henrik Sedin past Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi. Sedin carried the puck up the right wing, before slamming on the brakes at the right dot. He saw Burrows cutting on the off wing, hitting him in stride with a pass through the slot that Burrows buried with shot that caught the upper left corner of the net.

San Jose held a slim 23-22 shot advantage through two periods, with the last shot coming on a Joe Thornton breakaway with 15 seconds left before the second intermission. Thornton bore down on Schneider but was cross checked by Jannik Hansen right as he was releasing the puck. The hit knocked Thornton to the ice, bouncing him off the right post and spinning dangerously toward the end boards. Hansen drew a penalty on the play, which carried over to the 3rd period.

San Jose leveraged that penalty early when Couture took a breakout feed from Matt Irwin, carried the puck up the left wing, and snapped a shot from the top of the left circle that beat Schneider to the glove side. The long shot seemed to catch Schneider by surprise, but probably should have been stopped.

Schneider's evening was about to get much worse. San Jose won the ensuing faceoff, and immediately carried it into the Vancouver zone. Couture had the puck along the right wing boards when he saw Patrick Marleau racing into the zone, so he simply kicked the puck out toward the right circle, where his linemate scooped it up and made a bee-line for the slot. Cutting across the slot, Marleau took a two handed chop across the forearms from Alex Edler, but was still able to whip the puck on goal. That shot slipped past Schneider just 9 seconds after Couture's goal.

Surprisingly, the two quick goals was not a Sharks playoff record. Couture and Marleau missed that mark by a mere second. It was Marleau's 55th career playoff goal, which is second among active players. Only Jaromir Jagr has scored more among players still playing the game.

For some reason, the Canucks figured they could claw back into the game by trying to carve up the Sharks. The ploy started with Henrik Sedin high sticking Couture two minutes after Marleau's goal. That put the Sharks on the power play for 6th time, and it would allow Couture to set a team record.

That record being two playoff power play goals in a period, which Couture executed just 20 seconds into Sedin's penalty. Couture trailed the attack as San Jose entered the zone, then took a cross-ice feed from Thornton in the high slot. The Sharks sniper coasted to his left before whipping a shot past Schneider for the 5-1 lead.

Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault mercifully pulled his goaltender, but the damage had been done. Games 1 & 2 starter Roberto Luongo replaced Schneider for the final 16 minutes.

During that span, the Canucks converted on another goal, but it was too little, too late. Vancouver went on a penalty spree which included a pair of cross-checking penalties, two roughing calls and a slash. One obvious slash that wasn't called came on a Derek Roy two handed chop that knocked the stick out of Justin Braun's hands as the defenseman was trying to carry the puck out of the Sharks zone. The call wasn't made, which allowed Roy to grab the puck and send a pass to Dan Hamhuis in the slot.

Hamhuis sent a 25-foot shot from the left side, that beat Niemi just inside the right post, top shelf.

Game Notes:

Scott Gomez made his playoff debut for San Jose on Sunday, logging 16:39 of ice time on 23 shifts. Gomez 2 shots and 2 hits, while winning half of the 10 face-offs he took. Tim Kennedy was scratched in Gomez' place. Martin Havlat was also scratched, as he still recovers from the injury he sustained in Game 1.


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1 2 3 T
VAN 0 1 1 2
SJ 1 1 3 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 1 (Couture, Thornton), 14:08, (pp).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Pavelski 2 (Wingels, Hannan), 7:20. 3, VAN, Burrows 1 (H. Sedin, D. Sedin), 11:07.
3rd period - 4, SJ Couture 2 (Irwin), 1:40, (pp). 5, SJ, Marleau 3 (Couture, Braun), 1:49. 6, SJ, Couture 3 (Thornton, Pavelski), 4:07, (pp). 7, VAN, Hamhuis 1 (Roy), 13:12.
1st period - Sestito, VAN (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:44; Burish, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:44; Marleau, SJ (high sticking), 7:19; Weise, VAN (roughing), 12:40; Hamhuis, VAN (slashing), 13:04; Wingels, SJ (roughing), 16:08.
2nd period - Lapierre, VAN (cross checking), 3:29; Hansen, VAN (cross checking), 19:45.
3rd period - H. Sedin, VAN (high sticking), 3:46; Lapierre, VAN (roughing), 5:32; Lapierre, VAN (slashing), 11:09; Burrows, VAN (cross checking), 11:54; Galiardi, SJ (slashing), 11:54; Kassian, VAN (roughing), 14:00; Burrows, VAN (cross checking), 20:00.
Shots Saves
VAN - Schneider 28 23
VAN - Luongo 10 10
SJ - Niemi 30 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
VAN 14 8 8 30
SJ 13 10 15 38
Power Play Conversion
VAN 0 of 2
SJ 3 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau
Referees: Joanette, Pochmara. Linesmen: Barton, Devorski.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees


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