Alexander Edler and Mats Sundin scored in the first 6 minutes, Roberto Luongo made 28 saves, and the Vancouver Canucks held on for a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
Joe Thornton pulled the Sharks within one on a power play with
2.9 seconds left in the second period, but Canucks defenseman Kevin
Bieksa restored the two-goal cushion on a power-play one-timer
almost 12 minutes into the third.
Ryan Kesler added two assists for Vancouver, which won for the
12th time in the last 14 games, but the first time in almost two
full years against San Jose.
Brian Boucher, making his fifth straight start while No. 1
goalie Evgeni Nabokov recovers from a lower-body injury, made 26
saves for the Sharks, who remain tied with Detroit atop the Western
Conference after losing four straight (0-3-1).
Missing injured forwards Jeremy Roenick, Mike Grier, Claude
Lemieux, Torrey Mitchell and Marcel Goc, San Jose got Travis Moen
into the lineup for his first game since acquiring him from Anaheim
on Wednesday. But they lost Rob Blake to an apparent leg injury
late in the second, and the 39-year-old defenseman did not finish
The Sharks had won seven straight meetings dating to the last
Vancouver win on April 7, 2007. After being swept last season by
San Jose, the Canucks were outscored 11-3 while losing the first
three of this season's four-game series.
But it was apparent early that the streak might end Saturday.
Edler opened the scoring on a delayed penalty 3:15 in,
one-timing a hard slap shot through Alex Burrows' screen and under
before Boucher could get his pads down flush on the ice. Sundin
doubled the lead less than three minutes later.
Left alone in front, Sundin took Pavol Demitra's pass from
behind the net, deked to his backhand and lifted it behind Boucher,
ending a 10-game goal drought.
Vancouver had another apparent goal waved off 27 seconds later,
as the whistle blew just before Burrows whacked in a puck sitting
in front of Boucher's pads.
The Canucks were outshooting San Jose 8-2 at that point but,
after managing just one on a power play, the Sharks carried much of
the play the rest of the period en route to a 12-2 shot advantage
over the final 13 minutes.
Luongo kept them scoreless with a couple of left pad saves off
Ryan Clowe at the side of the net on a power play, and Milan
Michalek hit the cross bar after a defensive zone breakdown allowed
him to walk in alone form the high slot.
Luongo then made his best save with just under 5 minutes left in
the period, dropping his stick and diving to swipe the puck out of
the air with the palm of his blocker after a shot caromed off
bodies in front and toward an empty net.
Vancouver re-established a territorial and shot advantage in the
second period, thanks in part to three straight power plays. But
Boucher, who gave up a goal from center ice while blowing a 3-0
lead to Minnesota Thursday, made several great saves - the best
sliding across on Daniel Sedin and Sami Salo - and Thornton scored
on a power play with 2.9 seconds left in the period.
Thornton had an empty net after Canucks forward Ryan Johnson
cleared a loose puck right to him from the slot with Luongo down in
a scramble. Vancouver's goalie wasn't the only one slow to get up
after the play, as Blake also needed help to get off the ice. Blake
was taken to the ice by Edler in the scramble, but may have also
been hit by the shot, and got up favoring his right leg.
Bieksa made it 3-1 on just Vancouver's second shot of the third
period, and Luongo kept it that way with a sprawling glove save on
Nabokov did not make the trip to Vancouver, but is expected
to be join the Sharks when their three-game road continues Tuesday
The Canucks announced during the game that they would
play an exhibition game Sept. 14 against the New York Islanders in
Terrace. The town, about 500 miles northwest of Vancouver, gets to
host the game after being chosen "Hockeyville 2009" as part of a
contest on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcasts. Game
highlights will be broadcast in a one-hour special on CBC, and the
community of Terrace, with a population of 11,320 in a 2006 census,
receives $100,000 from contest co-sponsor Kraft Canada to be used
for arena upgrades.