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.

Sharks need to 'figure it out pretty soon' after another thrashing

Sharks need to 'figure it out pretty soon' after another thrashing

NASHVILLE – Apparently, one wake up call wasn’t good enough for the plummeting San Jose Sharks.
 
Just one day after suffering what was arguably their worst game under coach Pete DeBoer, Nashville put up a touchdown on the Sharks in a 7-2 win, giving San Jose its sixth straight defeat – all in regulation.
 
After getting outscored 13-3 the last two nights, including Friday’s 6-1 loss in Dallas, where do they go from here?
 
“In two years, last year and this year so far, we haven’t had one night like this almost. Now we have back-to-back nights,” Joe Pavelski said. “I think it’s just a reality check. A gut-check time.
 
“It’s on us as players. Bottom line is we haven’t put the effort in that we need to have right now, and it snowballed on us a little bit at times. I think we’ve got to take a deep breath and really take a look in the mirror, refocus a little bit and understand there’s hockey out there, but it’s not going to fix itself.”
 
What has to be fixed immediately is the defensive structure that has been so vital to the Sharks’ success in the Pete DeBoer era. Even when the club was going through stretches of struggling to score, as it was earlier in the season, it was still collecting points in the standings with its ability to limit the opposition’s scoring chances.
 
While the game against the Predators was actually a little better in that regard, believe it or not, it was still nowhere near the level it needs to be for the postseason. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s absence was partly to blame for that, but the Brent Burns-Paul Martin pair has been a disaster lately. Both have a minus-nine rating during the six-game losing streak, and that number is indicative of how they’ve looked, too.
 
“We’re giving up some goals. It’s a combination of things,” DeBoer said. “Obviously it’s not good enough to win games, so we’ve got to figure it out. I don’t have an answer standing here for you, but I know our group. Every team I’ve ever coached has a tough part of the season. This is obviously ours. We’ll regroup, and figure it out.”
 
Burns, who admitted to a “bad read” on Nashville’s second goal when Roman Josi sped around him, said: “It’s a tough league when you’re not executing little things.”
 
The Sharks actually looked strong early, poised to put the Dallas disaster behind them. The first few shifts, they had the puck in the Nashville end.
 
But Tomas Hertl was outmuscled behind the net by Colin Wilson on Colton Sissons’ goal at 4:14, Burns got beat on the second, and the Sharks never recovered. Patrick Marleau’s second period power play goal offered life, but that was extinguished 24 seconds later when James Neal answered with a power play goal of his own. The Sharks never got closer than two goals after that.
 
“When things are going bad, those are the things that are happening,” Burns said of Neal’s response to Marleau’s marker. “So, you’ve just got work through it."
 
Will they be able to work through it with just seven games left in the regular season, though? That this cold spell is happening in late March doesn’t speak well to the Sharks’ chances in the postseason, which begins in just two-and-a-half weeks.
 
Burns said: “Right now we should be just tightening up everything. … We've got figure it out pretty soon.”

Sharks forward Haley could face supplemental discipline from NHL

Sharks forward Haley could face supplemental discipline from NHL

NASHVILLE – Sharks forward Micheal Haley could be in line for supplemental discipline from the league, after earning a match penalty in the third period of Saturday’s 7-2 loss in Nashville.
 
After absorbing a borderline hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok, Haley tracked down the Predators forward and promptly delivered a left jab to Jarnkrok’s face at 12:56 of the final frame, with the Sharks trailing 5-2 at the time.
 
Naturally, there were differing opinions from the two head coaches on the play.
 
Pete DeBoer said: “When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth.”
 
Predators coach Peter Laviolette told reporters: "It's an ugly play. This isn't the wild, wild west. I mean, Calle hit him. We took a penalty. If we start doing that, we're in trouble, so hopefully it gets looked at."
 
Any player who earns a match penalty "shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the commissioner has ruled on the issue,” according to league rules.
 
In 54 games this season, Haley has two goals and nine assists for 11 points. His 110 penalty minutes is fifth in the league.
 
Jarnkrok did not return after the punch, but told reporters after the game he felt “OK.”
 
"I feel pretty good," Jarnkrok said. "Obviously, I saw him coming. There were a couple other guys coming, too. I didn't really know what to do. He got in a good punch on me.”