Sharks prevail over Canucks in shootout, 3-2


Sharks prevail over Canucks in shootout, 3-2


VANCOUVER In what may have been their biggest win of the year er, season, so as not to be confused with a bad pun the Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Monday night, 3-2, by virtue of Michal Handzus shootout goal.

It was the Sharks first victory in three tries against the team that has become their nemesis, and in another vastly entertaining game, it didnt matter if the win came in regulation, overtime, a shootout, extra innings, or a last second field goal.

Any positive result for us at this point is real important, but in this building and against that team is something that we needed, Todd McLellan said.

Surprisingly, it was the Sharks much maligned and 28th ranked penalty kill that led the way. Although Vancouver's Cody Hodgson tied the game at 2-2 with a power play goal midway through the third, San Jose managed to kill off five of the six Canucks opportunities, including a lengthy five-on-three advantage early in the final frame.

Thats no small feat against the leagues top ranked unit, which entered the game with a 24.2 percent success rate.

It was awesome. With that group, five-on-three they are the best in the league, Ryane Clowe said. We didnt really give them too much. It was a great job, and we worked on that a little bit in our practice time.

With San Jose nursing a 2-1 lead, Jason Demers and Brent Burns were whistled for infractions just 51 seconds apart. A couple of blocked shots and clears later, though, the Sharks still had their precious advantage.

The penalty kill has been a lot better significantly better for the last four or five games, now, Dan Boyle said. That was a huge turnaround. Weve been on the other side of that, and its a missed opportunity. They had their chance, but they missed it.

Still, the Canucks fought back and tied it with Clowe off for holding Alex Burrows. Vancouver nearly won it early in overtime, but Dan Hamhuis hit the far post while looking at an open net.

After the teams combined for five failed attempts to start the shootout, Handzus buried a shot past Roberto Luongo to put an end to San Joses four-game road winless streak.

I usually dont think too much about it, said Handzus of what he was going through his head with the game on his stick. Just go in and look where hes standing, and what hes doing. Then, just shoot it or fake it. Pretty simple. It went in for me, and its great for the team to get the two points.

Ryan Kesler, who shot immediately before Handzus, had Antti Niemi beat but fired it off of the post. The Sharks goaltender was happy to hear the chime of frozen rubber on iron.

Yeah, for sure, just to see the reaction of the people and they didnt cheer, Niemi said. At first, youre not sure if the puck goes in or not, and when you realize it didnt, thats a big relief.

Niemi started for the 16th time in the last 17 games, and recorded his 16th win of the season with 27 saves. Luongo took the loss, stopping 33 Sharks shots.

The Sharks used a strong second period to take a 2-1 lead after falling behind in the first.

Benn Ferriero tied the game at 1:34. Kevin Bieksa immediately fell to the ice after blocking a wrist shot by Logan Couture in front of the net. Ferriero took advantage of suddenly being alone in front the net, and deposited his third goal of the year from Clowe.

I was pretty open in front, Clowie found me, and I buried the rebound, Ferriero said.

Patrick Marleau gave San Jose its first lead. A long shift by the Sharks in the offensive zone had the Canucks scrambling, and Marleau banged in the rebound of a soft Justin Braun wrist shot from the point midway through.

The Sharks outshot the Canucks 17-7 in the second period.

Although the five-on-three kill was the most noticeable, the unit came up big early in the second when Vancouver was looking to build on its slim advantage. A high-sticking call on Demers at 19:05 of the first period carried over into the second.

I think the penalty kill going out to begin the second period was important for us, and about five or six minutes later we got a power play and we were dangerous, McLellan said. We felt good about ourselves at that point.

The Sharks were playing for the first time after a four-day break, off since last Wednesdays 3-2 overtime loss to Vancouver at HP Pavilion. The Canucks, meanwhile, continued on to Anaheim and Los Angeles following that game and were concluding a stretch of four games in six nights.

McLellan thought his club might be able to capitalize on what may have been an energy discrepancy.

We knew they had played four games in six nights, and we were fresh. We didnt do anything other than practice, so we wanted to use that to our advantage, the coach said.

Ferriero said thats exactly what happened. We definitely were pretty fresh. We had a good solid break there and some good practices, and I think we expected to come out and play with some jump. We did that tonight.

The Sharks got a scare early in the first period. Couture, who leads the team with 16 goals, limped off of the ice and up the tunnel when a wrist shot from the stick of Keith Ballard caught him in the knee as he lowered down to block it. Couture didnt spend much time in the locker room, though, and the Sharks breathed a sigh of relief as he returned later in the period.

Vancouver opened the scoring on a Jannik Hansen goal. On a three-on-one rush, Hansens centering pass deflected in off of a backchecking Jamie McGinn at 15:42.

It was the 26th time the Canucks had scored first, tied with Detroit for the most in league. They fell to 20-5-1 when doing so.

Odds and ends: The Sharks had 24 blocked shots to the Canucks seven. Vancouver won 61 percent of faceoffs (38-24). Cody Hodgson had a goal and an assist. Colin White, Frazer McLaren and Antero Niittymaki were the Sharks scratches. Vancouver is 5-0-2 in its last seven games against San Jose. Nine of the last 10 Sharks games have been decided by one goal (4-2-3). The Sharks are 9-1-1 when Patrick Marleau scores, and 3-0 when Benn Ferriero gets a goal. Seven of Ferrieros 10 career goals have come on the road. San Jose visits Anaheim on Wednesday. The Sharks are 0-3 against the last place Ducks this season.

DeBoer laughs heartily at photo: Thornton 'doesn't like his shirt on'

DeBoer laughs heartily at photo: Thornton 'doesn't like his shirt on'

PITTSBURGH – Joe Thornton and Brent Burns are already two of the more recognizable players in the NHL, standing at six-foot-four and six-foot-five respectively, and beards that are only slightly shorter than that.

Strolling about the Steel City on Wednesday, they caught the attention of one hockey fan who snapped a photo of Burns and a shirtless Thornton, and sent it to Pittsburgh radio host Colin Dunlap, who subsequently tweeted the image. As of Thursday morning, it had nearly 5,000 retweets and more than 8,000 likes.

After the Sharks’ morning skate on Thursday, Thornton simply said he was “just seeing the sights,” before quickly running off to the showers.

Head coach Pete DeBoer laughed heartily when asked if he had seen the picture.

“I did. [Thornton] doesn’t like his shirt on, we know that,” DeBoer said. “That’s the uniqueness and the beauty of our group.”

The Sharks play the Penguins on Thursday night in the first meeting between the teams since the Stanley Cup Final.

NHL Gameday: Pens hurting in Final rematch with Sharks

NHL Gameday: Pens hurting in Final rematch with Sharks

Programming note: Sharks-Penguins coverage starts today at 3:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 3-1-0, 6 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Penguins: 2-1-1, 5 points, 2nd Metropolitan Division


***The Sharks and Penguins will meet for the first time since Pittsburgh’s win in the Stanley Cup Final last June. The Penguins are, however, missing some key pieces to that series victory as Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Matt Murray and Conor Sheary are all out due to injury.

The Sharks are 2-1 on their current five-game road trip, which concludes on Saturday in Detroit.

“A lot of reminders for sure being back here not long ago,” Joel Ward said. “Definitely excited, a good challenge with us being on the road early again. We’ll try to notch another road win.”

***Pete DeBoer said after the Islanders game that he wasn’t sure what his emotions would be like when he walked into the rink, which is now called PPG Paints Arena. Now that he’s here, how does he feel?

“An overwhelming sense I think of pride for our group and the journey we went on,” he said. “I know we came up short, but the memories I have coming back in here are just of how our guys really emptied the tank. … They were the better team, but I was very proud of our effort. That’s the overwhelming feeling right now.”

As for Joe Thornton, he recalled that the last time the Sharks were here they won Game 5, prolonging the series.

“The last time we were here was a pretty good feeling,” Thornton said. “That’s all I remember, really.”

***Matt Nieto will return to the lineup for Micheal Haley, who played against the Islanders and helped to generate the first goal in the 3-2 win.

DeBoer stressed that Nieto wasn’t removed from the lineup due to his play, but that the Sharks are “going to rotate guys in and out” due to their improved depth.

“[Nieto] brings some more speed for us. I thought he did a good job the game before we took him out,” DeBoer said. “Hales gave us a real good game against a physical team against the Islanders, and Neets will go back in to tonight. He’s just got to do his thing.”

Nieto said: “Something they try to do is play fast, and they’ve got a lot of speedy guys in their lineup. I think if I’m moving my legs it could be effective.”


Sharks: Joe Thornton. The Sharks’ top line center broke through on Tuesday in Brooklyn, setting up the game-tying goal and game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the Islanders. Thornton didn’t have a very good Stanley Cup Final against the Penguins with just three assists in six games, so perhaps he has some retribution on his mind, even if he doesn't want to admit it.

Penguins: Matt Cullen. The veteran center is doing his best to help minimize the loss of Crosby, and is tied for the team lead with three points (1g, 2a). Dating back to last season, Cullen, who turns 40 on Nov. 2, has 11 goals in his past 31 games.


Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Mikkel Boedker – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Patrick Marleau – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Matt Nieto – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Aaron Dell

Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust
Carl Hagelin – Nick Bonino – Phil Kessel
Scott Wilson – Matt Cullen – Patric Honqvist
Tom Sestito – Eric Fehr – Tom Kuhnhackl

Olli Maatta – Trevor Daley
Ian Cole – Justin Schultz
Derrick Pouliot – Brian Dumoulin

Marc-Andre Fleury
Mike Condon


Sharks: None.

Penguins: Kris Letang (upper body) and Conor Sheary (eye), Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Matt Murray (hand) are out.