The Stanley Cup Playoffs return to San Jose, CA as the Sharks square off against the Canucks for game three action of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. As the sixth seed in the West, the Sharks original mission was to get a split in Vancouver. However, they managed to sweep the first two games of the best of seven series.
The series thus far.
Game 1: The Vancouver Canucks drew first blood in the series as defenseman Kevin Bieksa scored an unassisted goal on a backhander to take a 1-0 lead at the 12:26 mark of the contest middle frame. Minutes later, the Sharks got the much needed equalizer when Dan Boyle found Logan Couture in the high slot as Couture fired a wrister past Roberto Luongo to make it a 1-1 game. In the games final period, it was all San Jose. At the 9:17 mark, San Jose’s Tommy Wingels was caught in mad scramble in front Vancouver’s net as he managed to pass the puck on his four’s to Dan Boyle who pumped it home with the elevated wrist shot to put the Sharks up 2-1. With less than six minutes remaining in the opening game of the series Couture found Patrick Marleau sneaking into the slot area and fooled Luongo with a weak wrist shot to give the Sharks some late insurance to make it 3-1. That score would hold and San Jose took a 1-0 series lead.
Game 2: The San Jose Sharks scored the games first goal when defenseman Brad Stuart fired the puck on net, Canucks goaltender Luongo coughed up the loose puck as Brent Burns found Joe Thornton coming across the net mouth to put the puck into the next via an off balanced wrist shot to give San Jose the early 1-0 lead. In games second stanza there was no scoring. At the 39 seconds mark of the final period, the Sharks took an undisciplined penalty when Andrew Desjardins took a tripping minor. It did not take long for the Vancouver Canucks to make San Jose pay for their mistake. 20 seconds into the power play for Vancouver, Henrik Sedin found Ryan Kesler in the point position and slapped the one timer past Antti Niemi to tie it up at 1-1 in the third. Later in the period, another costly mistake by San Jose was committed when Dan Boyle turned the puck over in their own zone and it was Ryan Kesler who cashed in again to make the Sharks pay to take 2-1 Vancouver lead. In games final minute of regulation the Sharks were in complete desperation mode when Marleau came in with a soft wrist shot on Luongo. Everyone in Rogers Center thought their goaltender had saved the game for their Canucks, but Marleau spotted that Roberto Luongo did not have 100 percent possession of puck as it was resting behind him as a result Patrick Marleau tapped it in to tie the game up a 2 apiece. The tying goal by Marleau sent the game into overtime for the first time of the series. At the 5:31 mark of overtime, the Sharks were presented with a prime opportunity when Brent Burns and Raffi Torres went into the Canucks zone with only Kevin Bieksa back. Roberto Luongo thought that Burns was going to shot the puck on net when at the last second Burns decided to pass the puck to Torres and pumped it home and went upstairs on the Canucks netminder to give the Sharks the 3-2 win and 2-0 series lead.
Today the Sharks received some very good news as Scott Gomez is set to make his series debut. Gomez has the most playoff experience of anyone on the Sharks (140 games) and will line up on the fourth line between Adam Burish and James Sheppard.
“We’ll see what the lineup is tonight. Hopefully I’m in it, and we’ll go from there,” Gomez said.
Later, he joked: “They’re going to make me go out there. It is Cinco de Mayo, and they’ve got to sell some more tickets.”
Gomez, who has more career playoff assists (70) than Joe Thornton (67), should give a boost to the Sharks’ second power play unit after the team took an 0-for-5 in Game 2. The Sharks are 1-for-9 in the series.
“He’s highly skilled and knows how to work the power play,” Patrick Marleau said. “Just his presence alone in the locker room, on the ice and on the bench is huge.”
As for the Vancouver Canucks, they have elected to make a goaltending change by starting Cory Schneider rather than Roberto Luongo. Roberto Luongo however will back up Schneider.
Tale of The Tape:
Goals per game: 3.00 (4h)
Goals-against per game: 1.50 (T – 4th)
Power play: 11.1 percent (11th)
Penalty kill: 80.0 percent (11th)
Goals per game: 1.50 (T – 12th)
Goals-against per game: 3.00 (T – 12th)
Power play: 20.0 percent (6th)
Penalty kill: 88.9 percent (6th)
Injury Front Report:
Marty Havlat (groin) and Jason Demers (sprained left ankle) are out.
Manny Malhotra (eye), David Booth (left ankle) and Chris Tanev (leg) are out.
****Tale of The Tape/Injury Front Reports courtesy of Kevin Kurz.****
Today’s contest has a 7:00p PST puck drop and can be seen on CSNCA HD and can be heard on 98.5/102.1 KFOX. In addition, the game is being broadcasting nationally in the United States on the NBCSN. As for Canadian viewers, tonight’s match up is being televised on both CBC Network and RDS (French Speaking viewers).
LET’S GO SHARKS!!!!!!!!
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