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Gritty Sharks take shootout win in B.C.
Niemi and Luongo combine for 80 saves in duel
1/20/11 - By Mike Lee -

Doug Wilson's reminder that the trade deadline is quickly approaching may have hit home. With two new players in the lineup, the Sharks turned in one of their grittiest performances of the year and took a 2-1 shootout win on the road versus the Vancouver Canucks. Joe Pavelski beat Roberto Luongo for the only goal in the shootout to help the Sharks extend their winning streak to three games.

The league's 2nd ranked power play was held without a score in five chances against a Sharks penalty-killing unit that stepped up with clutch play, including a Vancouver man-advantage in for a full two minutes in the overtime period.

It won't show up in the stats, but San Jose was also credited with killing off 55 minutes of 7-on-5 play. Referees Rob Martell and Dan O'Halloran failed to call any infraction in front of the net, so the cross-checking was in full force. They also missed a blatent high stick to Joe Thornton, which left a half in gash inches from the Shark captain's right eye.

Aside from Thornton's cut, the only other Sharks blemish came in the form of Vancouver's first goal of the game. Henrik Sedin tallied his 10th goal of the season at 11:08 of the opening period, after Dany Heatley coughed up the puck in the offensive zone. Heatley would fail to get back in time to stop Deniel Sedin from feathering a pass to his brother for a drop shot that slid around Antti Niemi's glove side.

Jeff Tambollini had a golden chance to push a puck into a wide open net after Niemi was forced to make a big save13 minutes into the 2nd period. Niemi was making snow angels in the crease after losing sight of the puck, which sat perched outside the crease. Tambollini crashed in, but put the puck off the Shaks netminder.

Logan Couture would pull the Sharks even at 13:46 of the period after he picked Christian Ehrhoff's pocket with a poke check inside the Canucks zone. The Sharks rookie would skate in on Luongo and bounce a shot off the Vancouver netminder before backhanding the rebound into the Canucks net for his 21st goal of the season.

The Sharks would put 25 shots on Luongo in the 2nd period to set a franchise record for shots in a period on the road.

Patrick Marleau would find Thornton all alone on a breakaway 3 minutes into the 3rd period, but Luongo just got a piece of Thornton's shot to deny the centerman.

Thornton would be sent off for a ticky-tack tripping penalty at 8:57 of the period. Given all the cross-checking nonsense, it would have been tough to give up a goal on such a weak penalty, but the Sharks penalty kill denied the Canucks for the third time in the game.

San Jose made a strong push in the Canucks zone with 7 minutes to play, but Vancouver weathered the storm. San Jose had the puck in the offensive zone for a good two minutes before Alex Edler finally cleared it.

Thornton would get cut at a key point in the game, because time was winding down in regulation and the Sharks were tilting the ice toward Luongo.

Martell didn't miss Heatley chipping the puck over the glass with 3:14 left in regulation. The infraction would give the Canucks another power play, but Jason Demers would bait former Shark Mikael Samuelsson into taking a dumb roughing penalty with 110 seconds left in regulation.

Thornton had another golden chance to win it in overtime, when he found himself with the puck in front of the Vancouver net, but he put a shot off Loungo's pad.

Dan Boyle would take a roughing penalty 47 seconds into the overtime by knocking Ryan Kesler over with an extended arm. San Jose would kill yet another penalty to extend things in the extra session. Both teams would trade decent scoring chances, but both goaltenders denied the OT winner.

In the shootout, Niemi would poke check Mason Raymond's leadoff chance, but Couture would also miss high on the ensuing chance. Daniel Sedin would put a shot wide left, setting up Pavelski's chance. The Sharks forward skated in on the left side and head faked right before putting the puck past Luongo stick side. Niemi would end it by denying Kesler, who tried a stop and go move that was poked away by the Sharks netminder.

Game Notes:

Goaltender Antero Niittymaki was injured during the morning skate and was immediately placed on the injured reserve. With no prospect close enough to reach Vancouver in time for the game, so San Jose signed University of British Columbia goaltender Jordan White to a one-day amateur contract. White was dressed for the game, but did not see any action. Newly acquired forwards Kyle Wellwood and Ben Eager saw limited minutes in their debuts for San Jose.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 0 1 0 0 1 2
VAN 1 0 0 0 0 1
1st period - 1, VAN, H. Sedin 10 (D. Sedin, Hamhuis), 11:08.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Couture 21 (unassisted), 13:46.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - Van: Raymond (miss), D. Sedin (miss), Kesler (miss). SJ: Couture (miss), Pavelski (goal).
1st period - Demers, SJ (tripping), 2:46; Mayers, SJ (fighting major), 13:38; Glass, VAN (fighting major), 13:38; McCarthy, SJ (hooking), 17:37.
2nd period - Malhotra, VAN (tripping), 17:25.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (tripping), 8:57; Heatley, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 16:46; Samuelsson, VAN (roughing), 18:10.
Overtime - Boyle, SJ (roughing), 0:47.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 37 36
VAN - Luongo 45 44
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 10 25 9 2 45
VAN 17 9 8 3 37
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
VAN 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Roberto Luongo
Antti Niemi
Henrik Sedin
Referees: Martell, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Cameron, Cameron.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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