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Canucks best Sharks in game and series
Vancouver takes 7-4 decision 3 of 4 games from SJ
12/23/2023 - By Mike Lee

The Vancouver Canucks entered play on Saturday night with the best record in the NHL. San Jose entered with the worst record. You're probably picking up on a theme here. The good news for San Jose is that they're done playing Vancouver for the remainder of the season. The Canucks scored 2 goals or more in each period en route to a 7-4 win over the Sharks at Rogers Arena in British Columbia.

The Sharks did score 4 goals against an elite opponent, but when San Jose makes mistakes an opponent of this caliber made them pay. The Sharks have now lost 5 games in a row as they enter the Christmas break.

Everyone player in a white and teal sweater was accountable for this loss, but the Sharks needed goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to step it up. Blackwood has surrendered 5 goals in 3 straight starts.

The Sharks were forced to play catch up from the onset of the game after Andrei Kuzmenko buried a shot from the slot 1:34 into the contest. Kuzmenko fished a puck out of Mikael Granlund's skates after an Elias Pettersson pass from the left wing deflected off Ilya Mikheyev and landed between the circles.

Mike Hoffman took a bad interference penalty in the offensive zone at 5:37, knocking Quinn Hughes off his skates with a push from behind as both were perched in front of the Canucks net. Kuzmenko converted on the ensuing power play by deflecting a JT Miller shot from the high slot.

Mikael Granlund halved the Canucks lead with his 4th goal of the season at 13:32. Granlund fed Anthony Duclair before the pair raced up ice on the rush. Granlund was jostling with Nikita Zadorev as they skated to the right of the net. Duclair carried the puck to the right dot, then whipped a shot that clipped Granlund before evading Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko.

Tomas Hertl tied the game with his 12th of the season with 3:38 remaining in the period. The Sharks forward gathered a Mario Ferraro shot attempt that hit Filip Zadina in front of the net. Hertl fought off Tyler Myers as he collected the puck down low and sent a backhand shot through Demko.

The wheels fell off the bus in the 2nd period.

A Dakota Joshua penalty should have provided an advantage to the Sharks, but the Canucks would benefit immediately following the expiration of the penalty. The Canucks had numbers after San Jose turned the puck over allowing Nils Aman to score his 2nd goal of the season. Mario Ferraro tried to pass the puck the width of the ice but Teddy Blueger intercepted it then raced up the right side. Drawing Ferraro to the strong side. Blueger slid a pass to Aman on the off wing for the slam dunk goal.

Sam Laferty tipped a Ian Cole shot right after a Luke Kunin high sticking penalty expired. Cole fired the shot from the left point and Laferty was able to get his stick blade on the chest high shot, beating Mackenzie Blackwood for his 9th of the season.

Fabian Zetterlund cut into Vancouver's lead with a goal at 11:08. Ferraro carried the puck to the end boards, drawing two defenders to the right side of the net. The defenseman spotted Zetterlund cutting down the slot before hitting him with a perfect pass for a put-back goal.

San Jose didn't learn their lesson on Aman's goal, because they allowed the same scenario to push the Canucks back to another 2-goal lead. With Filip Hronek in the box for a tripping penalty, the Sharks failed to convert, then promptly allowed Vancouver to score immediately following the expiration of the penalty. This time it was Joshua depositing a puck after they out-numbered the Sharks in San Jose's zone.

Jacob MacDonald gave the Sharks a glimmer of hope when he bagged his 6th of the season at 13:16, but Pius Suter responded with another deflection goal at 15:43 to push the Canucks lead back to a pair of goals.

Quinn Hughes added an empty net goal to cap the scoring.

Game Notes:

* Vancouver wore their throwback black and yellow uniforms, setting their traditional blue, green and white kit.

* Alexander Barabanov was a late scratch as he is battling an illness.

* Givani Smith suffered a lower body injury in the Sharks loss to Arizona on Thursday and did not travel with the team. He was a medical scratch and has not been placed on the injured reserve. Calen Addison was also a scratch as he deals with a lower body injury.

* Mario Ferraro recorded his first career 3-point game. Ferraro has played in 286 NHL games.

* Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is 11-0-0 all time versus the Sharks.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 2 1 1 4
VAN 2 3 2 7
1st period - 1, VAN, Kuzmenko 7 (Mikheyev, Pettersson), 1:34. 2, VAN, Kuzmenko 8 (Miller, Pettersson), 6:51, (pp). 3, SJ, Granlund 4 (Duclair, Ferraro), 13:32. 4, SJ, Hertl 12 (Zadina, Ferraro), 16:20.
2nd period - 5, VAN, Aman 2 (Blueger), 6:03. 6, VAN, Lafferty 9 (Cole, Garland), 8:36. 7, SJ, Zetterlund 9 (Ferraro, Granlund), 11:08. 8, VAN, Joshua 9 (Garland, Blueger), 19:13.
3rd period - 9, SJ, MacDonald 6 (Zadina, Rutta), 13:16. 10, VAN, Suter 6 (Hughes, Miller), 15:43. 11, VAN, Hughes 10 (unassisted), 19:47, (en).
1st period - Hoffman, SJ (interference), 5:37.
2nd period - Okhotiuk, SJ (tripping), 1:09; Joshua, VAN (roughing), 3:59; Kunin, SJ (high sticking), 6:30; Blueger, VAN (hooking), 12:19; Hronek, VAN (tripping), 17:00.
3rd period - Studnicka, SJ (tripping), 2:30.
Shots Saves
SJ - Blackwood 25 19
SJ - empty net 1 0
VAN - Demko 25 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 5 9 11 25
VAN 5 11 10 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
VAN 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Andrei Kuzmenko
Teddy Blueger
Mario Ferraro
Rogers Arena - 18,875
Referees: #24 Graham Skilliter, #40 Steve Kozari. Linesmen: #90 Travis Toomey, #74 Trent Knorr.

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