Daniel Sedin scored his second power-play goal of the game, and Chris Higgins and Mason Raymond added man-advantage goals in the third period for the Vancouver Canucks, who routed the San Jose Sharks 7-3 on Wednesday night and took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Defenseman Aaron Rome also scored his first NHL playoff goal with 5:30 left as the Canucks poured it on late. The game turned when Kevin Bieksa scored the go-ahead goal on a breakaway with 7:55 left in the second period.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night at San Jose.
Bieksa, who scored the tying goal in the Canucks’ 3-2 comeback win in Game 1, beat four Sharks up the ice to take a cross-ice, blue line-to-blue line pass from Chris Higgins. He then beat goalie Antti Niemi with a quick shot between the legs.
The game got ugly after Bieksa pounded Sharks forward Patrick Marleau in a one-sided fight six minutes later. That angered San Jose tough guy Ben Eager, who was yelling at the Canucks bench after the fight. He then ran Daniel Sedin face first into the boards late in the period. Eager took another penalty in the third, and Higgins made it 4-2 on the power play eight minutes in.
Raymond added another power-play goal — on a too many men penalty that negated Joe Thornton’s breakaway — with 3:18 left. The Canucks went 4 for 6 on the power play. Daniel Sedin and Raffi Torres scored 39 seconds apart in the first period, and Roberto Luongo finished with 28 saves.
Eager also scored with 2:33 left, but took a penalty then when he pushed Luongo into the net after the puck. Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau scored power-play goals in the first period, and Niemi made 31 saves.
After San Jose coach Todd McLellan singled out that line after Game 1, Dany Heatley sent Couture in with a nice chip pass at the blue line, and Couture lifted his team-leading seventh goal past the outstretched blocker of Luongo 2:28 in.
Sedin tied it on a power play back-and-forth with brother Henrik midway through the period. Torres put Vancouver ahead 39 seconds later by getting position on Joe Pavelski atop the crease to tap in Christian Ehrhoff’s goal-line pass.
San Jose tied it again with its third power-play goal of the series — on just three chances — three minutes later. Dan Boyle’s shot went wide but came off the end boards to Thornton on the other side for a quick shot. Luongo stopped it, but as he dived to cover the puck Marleau knocked it under him. A short video review confirmed it went it, giving Marleau his third goal in three games.
San Jose never got another power play, however. The Sharks are 3 for 3 in the series against the Canucks, who had killed 28 of 29 chances in the second round against Nashville.
Daniel Sedin leads the NHL with five power-play goals in the playoffs, and is tied with Tampa Bay’s Sean Bergenheim for the overall lead with eight goals. Henrik Sedin had three assists.
Notes: San Jose F Benn Ferriero was back on the fourth line in place of veteran Jamal Mayers. … Sharks D Jason Demers missed a second straight game with an unidentified injury and was replaced again by Kent Huskins. … Speedy Vancouver LW Jeff Tambellini replaced Tanner Glass on the fourth line for just his second NHL playoff game. … Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said LW Mikael Samuelsson (leg), out since Game 5 of the second round, won’t travel to San Jose this series.
- ESPN Gamecast – play-by-play and stats
- Live game blog (Sharks)
- Live game blog and chat (San Jose Mercury News)
- Live streaming from Vancouver bars and chat (Vancouver Sun)
In anticipation of tonight’s big Sharks playoff game with the Canucks, KQED’s Dan Brekke yesterday talked to Jason Plank, Managing Editor of the Fear the Fin blog. The discussion covered a wide range of Shark topics, including what the team needs to do to even up the series, which it trails 1-0. Plank said the Sharks struggled with the Canucks’ transition in Game 1, but that the recent days off should help their legs. He also assessed the performance and mental toughness of the two goalies, the Sharks’ Antti Niemi and the Canucks’ Roberto Luongo.
The series resumes tonight in Vancouver at 6 p.m. P.T. The Merc will be live-blogging. The game will be on TV on Versus and on radio on KFOX 98.5 FM in San Jose, 102.1 in San Francisco. Listen live here.
Also, some photos from our Sharks photo pool on Flickr: