For the first time this season the Sharks did not annihilate their opponents in the shot category.
It didn't matter.
The Sharks could not get anything going on the powerplay.
It didn't matter.
San Jose continued their dominance over the Canucks, winning their eleventh straight, this one 4-1 in British Columbia.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic continued his newfound scoring prowess as he buried his second goal of the season and fifth point. Vlasic scored seven points in the lockout shortened season and already has five in the first four games. Joe Thornton picked up his first of two assists on the night and Brent Burns also got a helper on the goal.
Remember when I said Matt Pelech was recalled for this game solely in a face-punching role? Right, well my deepest apologies to Mr. and Mrs. Pelech who I am sure are avid readers of Fear the Fin as Pelech put the Sharks up 2-0 in the first period with his first career NHL goal. Because of course he did. And James Sheppard assisted. Sometimes you can’t predict puck.
Vancouver held the shot clock lead after one period (13-10) but the Sharks had more total shot attempts (23-19 in corsi) and led on the scoreboard.
Tommy Wingels missed the net on a golden opportunity right in front of Luongo early in the second period. With the puck sitting in the crease, Wingels had a bit of empty net in sight but missed the shot.
Mounting pressure by the Canucks earned them a goal halfway through the second period. A sweet deflection by Mike Santorelli cut the Sharks lead to just one goal and gave the Canucks an opportunity to take control of the game.
Three powerplays showed why the Canucks have not surrendered a goal down a man this season. Vancouver was aggressive on the penalty kill and forced the Sharks into at least two high-zone turnovers.
Patrick Marleau made it 3-1 for the Sharks off of a great pass from Tyler Kennedy who has really impressed in his first four games as a Shark. Logan Couture also picked up an assist on the goal.
This was the first “Praise Jesus for Antti Niemi” game of the season, which is encouraging given the frequency Niemi’s heroics were required last year. Our Finnish hero made 20 saves on 21 shots. Niemi has only allowed five goals in the first four games, and despite not being tested much has looked great to start the season.
Vancouver pulled Luongo with three minutes to play and down two goals, but Brent Burns ended any hope of a comeback. Thornton hit the post and Burns cleaned up the rebound, giving himself, Thornton and Couture two-point nights.
The Sharks have now won 11-straight against the Canucks and are 4-0 to start the season; even better than the record is San Jose’s play to start the season. After the Sharks’ hot and unsustainable start to last season it’s nice to see team teal win games they actually deserve to win.
- Tomas Hertl did not score tonight. Bust.
- Matt Pelech did not fight. Bust.
- Alex Edler hit the snot out of Hertl near the end of the second period. I'm not sure it was an illegal hit because Hertl's head was lowered -- but I AM positive you will all roast me for saying otherwise in the comments. Love you guys.
- The Sharks only outshot the Canucks 29-26 but they led in corsi 57-41. Not bad at all.
- New York was dismantled by Anaheim tonight, which may mean the Rangers are a bit worse than we thought.
- San Jose has scored at least four goals in ever y game this season. That's fun.
- Niemi's save percentage is up to .945 and he looked sharp tonight.
- After last year's playoffs, I really thought it was against San Jose's philosophy to score goals 5v5. It is nice to see that rule has been revoked this season.
- The Sharks head back to San Jose tonight and will play on Hockey Night In Canada against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.