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Game On!
Sharks continue dominance over Canucks
10/3/13 - By Mike Lee -

New season, new start, new opportunity. With the start of every season comes the hope of bigger and better things over the horizon that is the season. The Sharks kicked off their 2013-14 season with the outcome they hope to more of, knocking off the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 at the newly renamed SAP Center on Thursday night. The Sharks distributed the wealth, having four different players tally goals. Antti Niemi made 21 saves to earn his 121st career win.

* The victory was San Jose's 10th straight over Vancouver, including regular season and playoff games.

* The big concern after the end of last season was the Sharks inability to score 5-on-5 goals, especially in the playoffs. San Jose took a big step toward correcting that issue by scoring 4 even-strength goals.

* On the flip side, the Sharks whiffed on 8 power play chances, including a full two minutes of 5-on-3. The power play unit had an interesting formation, with zero screen coverage in front of the net. Vancouver simply sat back and filled lanes to take away shooting chances.

* The Canucks converted on their first power play opportunity, when Jason Garrison rifled a shot past Niemi from the slot.

* San Jose outshot the Canucks 16-7 in the opening period, but couldn't get anything past Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo.

* The offense had their opportunities early, bouncing a couple of shots off iron. A power play opportunity setup by a Dale Weise holding infraction looked promising, but a series of shots from teal sweaters all sailed wide of the Canucks goal. The one shot that was on net hit Alex Burrows in the face shield.

* Rookie forward Tomas Hertl recorded his first NHL point on an assist on Brent Burns goal in the 2nd period. Hertl intercepted a weak pass from Garrison in the neutral zone, then slid it over to Burns who skated up the right wing and slipped a shot past Luongo and the right post.

* Justin Braun scored his first goal in 70 games, snapping a shot from the right point. New forward Tyler Kennedy helped with a screen of Luongo on the play.

* Logan Couture setup the prettiest goal of the season (yes, we're one game in) with 5:21 to play in regulation. Couture stripped Chris Higgins at the top of the right circle when it appeared that Vancouver would setup an easy breakout. The Sharks forward then whipped a 40-foot pass through the slot to Patrick Marleau, who had Luongo dead to rights.

* Tommy Wingels finished off the scoring by working with Andrew Desjardins on a two man breakaway. Desjardins was carrying the puck up the left post and was slashed, but he spun to his left and whipped a backhand pass through the slot to Wingels who had stopped at the right pipe. The tap in was Wingels first career goal against Vancouver.

* The save of the game came midway through the 3rd period when Niemi stoned Ryan Kesler with a pad save on a 12 foot shot from the front of the net.

* Tommy Wingels line on the evening: 1 goal, 1 shot, +1, 12:55 of ice time, 5 hits, 5 blocked shots.

* A un-Joe Thornton like performance in the faceoff circle for the Sharks captain who won 3 of 11 draws (27%). San Jose turned to Joe Pavelski , who won 13 of 23 draws (57%).

* From the personal opinion department, not sure I'm a fan of hybrid icing. It's a subjective call, and several could have gone either way. The rule requires on-ice officials to be quicker about waving off icing as soon as the puck leaves the defensive zone.

* The SAP Center was adorned with a two-dollar banner, and big void where the old HP Pavilion fixed signage used to be affixed to the face of the arena. A delay in signage left the Sharks home without its permanent SAP signage.

* Defenseman Scott Hannan and Jason Demers were both a +3 on the evening. Seven Canucks were a -2.

* Hybrid forward/defenseman Brent Burns showed up to the arena wearing a suit and a tuuk, and carrying a camo backpack. You can take the boy out of the country…

* Tyler Kennedy didn't show in the scoring, but his play was directly involved in at least one goal. The Sharks newest acquisition looked solid, skating with Couture and Marleau.

* Rookie winger Matt Nieto was limited to 15 shifts and 9:43 of ice time, not looking totally out of place. He fell victim to the zebras, taking an interference penalty in the 2nd period. Kesler let the kid off the hook by offsetting the penalty with a roughing penalty 12 seconds into the Canucks power play.

* San Jose actually converted on their taco promotion when Braun scored in the 2nd period.

* Sharks head coach Todd McLellan celebrated his 46th birthday.

* Marc-Edouard Vlasic almost lost his nose when Higgins skate caught him in the face in the opening period. Vlasic returned after he had his schnoz sewed up.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
VAN 1 0 0 1
SJ 0 2 2 4
1st period - 1, VAN, Garrison 1 (D. Sedin, H. Sedin), 9:04, (pp).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Burns 1 (Hertl, Thornton), 5:53. 3, SJ, Braun 1 (Vlasic, Couture), 18:07.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 1 (Couture), 14:39. 5, SJ, Wingels 1 (Desjardins), 15:57.
Penalties
1st period - Weise, VAN (holding), 3:44; Burns, SJ (slashing), 8:29; Burns, SJ (cross checking), 12:48; Edler, VAN (interference), 15:11.
2nd period - Kesler, VAN (interference on goaltender), 8:23; Garrison, VAN (tripping), 8:23; Bench, VAN (too many men), 11:59; Nieto, SJ (interference), 14:18; Kesler, VAN (roughing), 14:30.
3rd period - D. Sedin, VAN (high sticking), 1:33; Braun, SJ (holding), 4:46; Sheppard, SJ (tripping), 8:03; Garrison, VAN (illegal check to head), 17:33; Pelech, SJ (holding), 19:35.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
VAN - Luongo 35 31
SJ - Niemi 22 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
VAN 7 10 5 22
SJ 16 11 8 35
Power Play Conversion
VAN 1 of 6
SJ 0 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Tommy Wingels
Tomas Hertl
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Dwyer, Lee. Linesmen: Miller, Racicot.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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