Canucks had edge over Sharks in regular season

Canucks had edge over Sharks in regular season

May 13, 2011

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Kevin Kurz
CSNCalifornia.com

Although the Canucks and Sharks finished 1-2 in the Western Conference standings, Vancouver managed to go undefeated in regulation against San Jose in the four-game season series. The teams also played one of the more memorable regular season games of the year when they last met on March 10 at HP Pavilion.

A quick look at the numbers shows that the Sedin twins, Daniel (6 points) and Henrik (5 points), led the Canucks in scoring against the Sharks. Dany Heatley tallied a goal and three assists for San Jose, while Ryane Clowe was the only Shark to score more than once against Vancouver over the four games (3g).

Antti Niemi played every minute of every game against the Canucks, a team in which he helped eliminate from the playoffs last season in the second round when he was with Chicago. Niemis 3.64 goals-against average and .896 save percentage are nothing to write home about, but much of the damage came during a 6-1 blowout by Vancouver the day after Thanksgiving.

Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider each started twice against San Jose, and Luongo allowed just two goals in 125 minutes of play for a stellar 0.96 GAA against San Jose.

Heres a brief, game-by-game look at what transpired during the year between the Western Conference Finalists.

November 26, 2010
Canucks 6, Sharks 1

In their first meeting of the season, Vancouver scored five unanswered goals in cruising to a 6-1 win over the Sharks at Rogers Arena. Mikael Sanuelsson led the way with two goals, while Luongo stopped 32 shots. At the time, it was just the Canucks third win over San Jose in their previous 13 meetings. It was also the most goals the Canucks had scored against the Sharks in almost 10 years.

REWIND: Niemi battered, Sharks routed by Canucks

Heatley scored the lone goal for the Sharks, who dropped their fourth out of five games. Niemi allowed all six Canucks goals on 32 shots faced, while Luongo stopped 32 of 33 San Jose shots.

January 3, 2011
Canucks 4, Sharks 3

In a much more evenly played game than the first meeting, Alex Burrows scored the tie-breaking goal in the third period of a see-saw affair to give the Canucks the 4-3 win at HP Pavilion. It was Vancouvers first win in San Jose since April 7, 2007.

Daniel Sedin, Alexander Edler and Jannik Hansen also scored for the Canucks, who won for the 15th time in 18 games. Clowe, Patrick Marleau and Jamal Mayers were the goal scorers for the Sharks. Mayers gave San Jose a 3-2 lead with just 4:39 left in regulation, but Hansen tied it up with 1:25 remaining.

REWIND: Sharks can't slow down Canucks, fall 4-3

Schneider was the winning goalie for the Canucks make 32 saves, while Niemi stopped 43.

January 20, 2011
Sharks 2, Canucks 1 (SO)

The Sharks lone win in the season series came courtesy of Joe Pavelskis goal in the shootout at Rogers Arena. The Canucks got the early lead thanks to a goal by Henrik Sedin, before Logan Couture tied it during a second period in which the Sharks outshot the Canucks, 25-9. That was all of the scoring in regulation, though, while Pavelski was the only player able to convert in the shootout.

The Sharks were a bit fortunate to get out of overtime alive, as Dan Boyle took a bad penalty in the extra session when he punched Ryan Kesler and was sent to the box on a roughing call.

REWIND: Sharks win hard-fought battle with Canucks in SO

The win was San Joses fourth in the row, and came while they were in the midst of a 9-0-1 run. Niemi picked up the victory with 36 saves, while Luongo took the hard-luck loss after making 45 saves.

March 10, 2011
Canucks 5, Sharks 4 (SO)

In one of the most entertaining games of the regular season, the Sharks and Canucks played a game befitting the top two teams in the Western Conference when they last met.

The Canucks led 3-2 after two periods, but the Sharks Torrey Mitchell tied the game with his goal at 17:47 of the third. Daniel Sedin responded for Vancouver when his goal just 24 seconds later gave the Canucks their lead back. No matter, as Clowe capped a wild final few minutes of regulation with a tip-in of a Joe Thornton shot to send it to overtime.

REWIND: Instant classic -- Canucks top Sharks in shootout

Once again, though, the game would have to be decided by a shootout. Burrows was the only player able to convert on his opportunity, giving the Canucks the extra point in the standings. Niemi was the goalie of record once again for the Sharks, while Schneider picked up in the win in net for Vancouver.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

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Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”