Game 1 notes: Sedin twins assault Niemi's net


Game 1 notes: Sedin twins assault Niemi's net


VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Looks as though the Mounties can remove those missing person posters of the Sedin Twins from the light poles all along Burrard Street, near the waterfront.

Henrik and Daniel finally showed up Sunday night at Rogers Arena in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals as the Canucks came from behind with a 3-2 victory over the Sharks.

Henrik Sedin scored the eventual game-winner while Daniel Sedin had a key block on Dan Boyles shot soon after. Henrik had just one shot in the game and made it count.

Were here to score goals, to produce, Henrik said. We come to the rink, we know when were not playing well. We dont have to hear that from everyone else. There have been games where we havent been happy with our performance.
RATTO: Canucks constrict Sharks in Game 1

There have been other games where weve been happy with the way we played, and in a few of those games weve been minus players a lot. That doesnt help with the media coverage.

Daniel? He had six shots on Antti Niemi.

I didnt think our first two periods were bad, but the third, we took over, Daniel said. We were down, but we took over. Weve been winning games, but maybe we havent played as good as we wanted to. Tonight, for 60 minutes, I thought we played a really good game.

So did Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

You know, theyre always thinking, Vigneault said. Tonight, when we got caught out there at the end and I called timeout, Hank turned and looked at me on the bench. He said, Let me switch sweaters with Danny.

McLellans reaction: Sharks coach Todd McLellan was impressed with the Sedin Twins, as well.

They're Henrik and Daniel, McLellan said. One was the most valuable player in the league last year, one was supposed to be the most valuable player in the league this year. Do we worry about them? Absolutely.

I told our group prior to the game there's a lot of focus on Ryan Kesler and deservingly so. Two, three guys we really needed to focus on was that line.

I don't know what happened in the Nashville series as far as their chances and opportunities go. We watched a little bit on video. But I know we have a ton of respect for both of them. They showed it tonight.

Brutal goal: That would best describe what happened to Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo on the games first goal.

He went behind the net to play a puck, then under pressure, shot it directly into the right circle, almost a tape-to-tape pass to the Sharks Joe Thornton, who buried it into an empty net.

I don't like to make excuses, but if you remember the play a few minutes earlier, Ben Eager slashed my stick, Luongo said. It was kind of broken, and when I went to make the pass I didn't get all of it.

It looked pretty bad, obviously. I've been playing the puck a million times this year, and I think I've done a pretty good job at it. Marty Turco makes mistakes playing the puck, and he's the best in the league. But I could hear the fans were a little nervous afterwards.

Loose pucks: McLellan swapped Jason Demers out on defense with Ken Huskins but would not confirm an injury as the reason. Lineup change with Jason Demers, obviously Husky went in and I thought he played a pretty honest game, McLellan said. We'll see what we do for Game 2. Asked again on Demers, he replied. He's bumped and bruised, just like everybody else. Niemi had four saves on Daniel Sedin in the first period, including a good one from distance off a screened shot San Jose won the faceoff battle, 52-to-48 percent.Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insiderfor E-mail him at

Headed for 100 losses, Giants quietly give up on "Don't Stop Believin'" tradition

Headed for 100 losses, Giants quietly give up on "Don't Stop Believin'" tradition

SAN FRANCISCO — At some point over the last month, the Giants quietly stopped playing “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the late innings of games they trail. 

It’s unclear exactly when it started, or who made the decision. A number of team employees, surveyed over the past week, had noticed. But nobody knew the exact details. Perhaps the longtime staple of AT&T Park was shelved on July 9, when FanGraphs dropped the playoff odds to 0.00 percent for the first time in a lost season. Maybe it was during a bad loss before that or a bad loss after that. You can take your pick. This season has been filled with so many of them it’s hard to keep track. 

Friday’s stood out, in part because this was the kind of night where Journey briefly made sense. The Giants gave Jeff Samardzija a 4-0 lead in the first inning against a Padres team that spent the early innings kicking and throwing the ball all over the field and making mistakes on the bases. It was 5-1 after three innings. By the sixth, the Padres had tied it. By the seventh, they had the lead. By the eighth, it was a three-run lead. 

Before the bottom of the eighth, the in-stadium crew played Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” for a crowd of a few thousand. Last weekend, Huey Lewis was the fill-in for Journey. On Wednesday, a game the Giants actually came back to win, the scoreboard played a singalong game to “Happy Together” by The Turtles. 

On this night, the Giants actually would come back. Conor Gillaspie hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth, tying the game and sending it into extras. The Giants had trailed by three with one out remaining, but the momentum provided by Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Gillaspie was just a blip. The Padres scored three in the 11th off George Kontos, who has pitched five times over the last eight days and was supposed to get a night to rest. 

Kontos was the last to give up runs in a 12-9 loss, but hardly the only one. Samardzija took blame after failing to get through five with a big early cushion. That put pressure on the tired bullpen, and the relievers blew it over and over again. The Padres scored runs in six consecutive innings at one point and had 20 hits. 

“We couldn’t stop them,” Bruce Bochy said, shaking his head. 

Nothing can apparently stop this skid. The Giants are 37-61 and six games behind the Padres. They are much closer to the No. 1 draft pick than they are to fourth place in their division. 

“Don’t Stop Believin’” survived the 2013 season. It survived 2015 and the second half of last year. Nothing can survive this season.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants lose marathon in extras to Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants lose marathon in extras to Padres


SAN FRANCISCO — A few hundred, maybe a few thousand, stayed to watch the Giants late Friday night. The Giants did not make it worth the effort. 

Conor Gillaspie’s two-out homer in the ninth sent the game to extras, but the Giants lost 12-9 in a game that lasted nearly five hours. The Giants had trailed by three with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. They tied it. Instead of carrying that momentum over, they suffered yet another demoralizing loss. 

They have dropped both games of this series and they trail the Padres -- who had 20 hits -- by six games in the race for fourth place. Those are facts. Here are five more, mostly from earlier, when a young man harbored dreams of leaving a ballpark before 1 a.m. … 

—- Hector Sanchez took Jeff Samardzija deep to lead off the fourth, and at this point it’s flat-out hilarious. Sanchez has seven homers this season and three have come against his former team. He hit two homers at AT&T Park in 296 plate appearances as a Giant, and the fourth-inning blast gave him three in 11 plate appearances as a Padre. He also doubled in a run and singled. It’s an all-time revenge tour. Just go along for the ride. 

—- There were a ton of scouts on hand to watch two starting pitchers who could move in the next 10 days, and they left disappointed. Trevor Cahill gave up six earned on seven hits and four walks and lasted just 3 2/3 innings. Jeff Samardzija gave up eight hits and five earned in 4 1/3 innings. 

—- I dunno man, it’s really hard getting to five of these every night. Sam Dyson was good again. 

—- Gillaspie's pinch-hit homer was the sixth of his career. He's a hero around these parts, but perhaps Bobby Evans should see if a team out there was watching Friday and remembers his October run. Gillaspie could help a contender. 

—- When MLB inevitably introduces a pitch clock and pitchers start complaining, this will be the game I tell them to sit down and try to watch start to finish.