San Jose missed an opportunity to pull within two points of the Los Angeles Kings.
The third time was finally a charm for the Vancouver Canucks.
Trailing for the third time heading into the final period, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t complete the comeback on Saturday night as a Dan Hamhuis power=play tally midway through the third period proved the difference as Vancouver downed San Jose by a 4-2 final at SAP Center.
It was a much difference game than the previous two matchups this week as San Jose actually got off to a nice start in front of James Reimer, who was making his debut in teal. The Sharks would breakthrough first when Micheal Haley followed up his own rebound and poked him his first goal of the season.
You can’t help but root for a guy like Haley who’s been a career minor-league player, but his third career NHL goal was a great individual effort.
From that moment on, the parade to the penalty box would begin for team teal on this night.
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Late in the period, Haley would be sent to the box for high-sticking and the Canucks power play began to make the Sharks pay.
With 92 seconds remaining in the first, Linden Vey would capitalize on a Sven Baertschi rebound and put one past Reimer to knot things up at one following the opening 20 minutes.
Vancouver wouldn’t take long to keep their power play mojo going as just over two minutes into the second period, Daniel Sedin redirected his team-leading 25th goal of the year to give the Canucks as 2-1 lead.
The Sharks play stagnated as they went a stretch of more than 15 minutes without a shot on goal because they were constantly taking penalties.
Because of this, San Jose were trailing again heading into the third period against Vancouver, and if not for the exploits of goaltender Jacob Markstrom, they probably would have made it three-for-three.
The Sharks were able to tie things up as they put on a big push in the final frame, outshooting the Canucks by a 16-7 margin. Brent Burns took a Joe Thornton feed in the slot and roofed one past Markstrom who stood no chance. It was Burns’ 23rd goal of the season, a new career high, and he’s found the back of the net in three consecutive games.
As San Jose continued to press for the lead, Markstrom, who made 32 saves in this one, would make a pair of spectacular saves, first off Tomas Hertl and then robbing Patrick Marleau with a sprawling glove stop.
Markstrom’s acrobatics allowed his teammates enough time to convert on the power play. With Joonas Donskoi in the box for tripping, Hamhuis snuck in back door and beat Reimer to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead. Alexandre Burrows would hit the empty net to seal the deal as Sharks fans were forced to head back into the rain with a loss.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that special teams was the difference in this one with Vancouver going 3-for-7, while San Jose came up empty on their three attempts. The Sharks left Reimer out to dry in his debut as he made 22 saves on the evening. Expect to see him again when San Jose travels to Edmonton on Tuesday.
The Sharks are back out on the road this week as they finally will face someone other than the Canucks. San Jose travels to Alberta for a pair of back-to-back games against the Flames and Oilers as the Sharks try to put this one behind them.