Marleau ties it, Torres wins it as Sharks take 2-0 series lead
The Sharks took a commanding two-games-to-none series lead by winning both of the first two games in Vancouver. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
VANCOUVER – Raffi Torres scored in overtime after Patrick Marleau’s goal tied it late in regulation, as the Sharks stunned the Canucks in Game 2 of their first round playoff series on Friday night at Rogers Arena, 3-2.
Torres took a pass from Brent Burns on a two-on-one rush with Kevin Bieksa defending, and beat Roberto Luongo at 5:31 of overtime. Burns blocked an Alex Edler shot to create the rush, and froze Luongo before his pass through the slot to an open Torres.
The Sharks will take a commanding two-games-to-none series lead back to San Jose for games three and four, where they were 17-2-5 in the regular season.
The Sharks tied the game late after a pair of goals by Ryan Kesler in the third period gave Vancouver a 2-1 edge.
Antti Niemi was pulled for an extra attacker when Dan Boyle’s slap shot was blocked, and Marleau got to the loose puck. Marleau's subsequent shot snuck through Luongo and ended up behind the goalie, when Marleau pounced on it and advanced it across the goal line with 56 seconds to go in regulation to make it 2-2.
Jannik Hansen nearly put the game away about half a minute earlier, but his attempt at an open net with 1:24 left went just wide.
An ill-advised tripping penalty by Andrew Desjardins on Edler away from the play gave Vancouver an early third period power play. Kesler’s blast from high in the zone had eyes, beating Niemi while Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin provided the screen just 59 seconds into the frame.
Later, Boyle retrieved a loose puck behind the Sharks net and tried to advance it to Joe Pavelski, but it instead deflected to Kesler alone in the high slot. The forward had time to wind up and blast the puck past Niemi at 7:06, giving Vancouver its first lead of the night.
The Sharks sustained an early push by Vancouver, with a little help from a bad penalty by Jason Garrison at 6:13, when he cross-checked TJ Galiardi at the blue line. San Jose had a couple great chances on the power play, but Galiardi was stopped while skating in alone by Luongo, who denied Marleau later on in the advantage.
Joe Thornton’s even strength goal at 13:22 of the first, though, gave the Sharks the lead. Brad Stuart got a shot off from the point, and Thornton was able to backhand it past Luongo while falling to the ice.
That was the only marker through two periods, but the action was intense in a scoreless second.
Kesler, who was generally ineffective in Game 1, finally made his presence felt in the series. He drew a retaliatory penalty on Tommy Wingels 13:33, but Vancouver couldn’t convert. Late in the second, Kesler crushed Justin Braun in front of the Vancouver bench, and Braun was fortunate to get up with all of his limbs still intact.
Each goaltender made some dazzling saves in the period, too. Niemi had a quiet first, but stopped Burrows on a two-on-one less than three minutes in. He managed to kick his pad out at the last moment to deny Daniel Sedin on the ensuing faceoff, and got some help from Braun on Sedin’s rebound try, which appeared to hit the Sharks defenseman in the leg before it was frozen by Niemi.
Luongo made the best save of the series with a magnificent diving glove stop on Torres midway through the second on a pass from Burns.
The Sharks had a Joe Pavelski goal waved off in the second period, as the referee ruled that Wingels made contact with Luongo with 13:52 to go. No penalty was called.
Marleau, who scored in Game 1, also, has at least a point in all seven career playoff games against Vancouver.
San Jose finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Canucks were 1-for-3.
The Sharks had the first three power plays of the game, and stayed out of the box until a Burns tripping minor at 8:18. Vancouver’s first power play lasted all of four seconds, when Henrik Sedin was called for batting the puck with his hand on the ensuing offensive zone faceoff.
Niemi stopped 29 shots, while Luongo made 27 saves.
Luongo appeared to be a bit shaken up with about four minutes left in the first period after making a save on the power play, but stayed in the game.
Cory Schneider (undisclosed injury) did not dress for Vancouver.
After exiting prematurely in Game 1, Marty Havlat missed Game 2 with a presumed lower body injury after taking a violent whack to the groin area from Bieksa.
Tim Kennedy, who played in the Sharks’ final regular season game after sitting for 23 straight, took Havlat’s place in the lineup.
Scott Gomez (general soreness) remained out.