The Sharks 7-2 rout of the Vancouver Canucks was the result of a full team effort for Team Teal. Every line was chipping in, the defense bent but didn’t break and Martin Jones stopped all but two against a quick paced Canucks squad.
The biggest story of this game will obviously be Mike DiPietro, who was forced to make his NHL debut thanks to a Jacob Markstrom injury, and how he got torched by his own team on far too many occasions tonight. The first two goals were evidence of that, with Erik Gudbranson giving up the puck right behind the net on Timo Meier’s game opening shot and Ben Hutton essentially batting a flying lob over DiPietro’s head and into the net.
Now let’s be clear; we probably shouldn’t read too much into the result of this game, given the strange circumstances. But if there’s one thing we can take out of it, it’s that the San Jose Sharks are a dominant force that the road to a Stanley Cup (along with a division title) absolutely goes through.
Hey everyone! I’m Lach in the Crease and I’ll be the captain of this liveblog tonight. Make sure to pin this tab to your browser as the Sharks and Canucks do battle in my beautiful hometown of Vancouver.
Just one late change to the starting lineups to let you know about; due to Jacob Markstrom dealing with some lower body issues, Mike DiPietro will be getting his NHL start in goal tonight for the Canucks. Until last week, DiPietro was the starting netminder for the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s, but he was called up during Vancouver’s recent road trip due to an injury to rookie backup Thatcher Demko. Regardless of the outcome, a weird game seems to be in the cards tonight.
20:00: Martin Jones in goal to our left, Mike DiPietro to our right. Sharks in the road whites, Canucks in the home blues. Game on!
18:56: SHARKS SCORE! Timo Meier slaps a quick one past DiPietro on the first shot of the game to give the Sharks the 1-0 lead.
16:38: Make that two! Evander Kane lobs the puck on goal, only for Ben Hutton to reach up and tip it over DiPietro’s head and in. You can’t help but feel bad for the kid in goal.
11:12: SCORRRRES!!! The Melk Man finds a tip in front and puts the Sharks up by three!
7:45: The Canucks finally get a shot on goal, and Jones knocks aside the one-timer from Markus Granlund. Took ‘em long enough.
4:15: Evander lets his temper get the best of him, and the Canucks land a man advantage. Penalty kill time!
0:42: Sharks kill off the penalty, the Canucks finally get some momentum but Jones shuts the door. Those are the kind of saves that you need in the postseason.
0:06: Canucks score. Elias Pettersson finds Bo Horvat wide open on the far side, and he makes no mistake. Vancouver cuts the Sharks lead down to 3-1 as the first period horn sounds.
20:00: Second period time! Let’s see if the Sharks can escape the dreaded danger of a two-goal lead.
18:00: The Canucks are all of a sudden outshooting the Sharks? Thank the hockey gods for Martin Jones.
15:24: GOAAAAAAAAAL! Evander Kane has a much less fluky goal on his second of the night, rifling a shot past DiPietro and giving the Sharks their three-goal lead back! 4-1.
9:49: Past the halfway point of this game, and the East-West game is making its entrance. I doubt the goalies mind too much right now, honestly.
9:00: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA HERTL!!! A terrific play from Joonas Donskoi and Tomas taps it home. 5-1 Sharks and somebody please get poor DiPietro out of the net.
6:09: Radim Simek plays a Pettersson breakaway perfectly. Chris Tanev, not so much. Sharks to the power play!
2:30: SCORRRRRES! Kevin Labanc and Joe Thornton on a 2-on-1 get the Sharks to a touchdown, 6-1 San Jose and the rout is on.
0:00: That’s the buzzer! The Sharks pick up another three in the second and the Canucks get a lesson in “How Not to Give a Goalie His First Start 101.”
20:00: Twenty minutes left, time to finish off strong.
17:45: Brock Boeser gets called for slashing and that cuts the Canucks power play short. Who’s ready for some 4-on-4?!
15:19: Alex Biega gets a chance on a breakaway and takes out Jones in the process, but the puck stays out.
11:17: Erik Gudbranson puts the lumber into Kane and the Sharks are back on the power play!
8:30: DiPietro makes a few solid saves on that power play, and gets some cheers from the Rogers Arena crowd. If any Canuck deserves a Standing O tonight, it’s this kid for the way he’s handled this whole situation.
7:54: Canucks get back on the board as Zack MacEwen sets up Derrick Pouliot in the slot, getting his first NHL point in the process. 6-2, Sharks lead.
5:55: SHARKS SCORE! Joe Pavelski tips the Brenden Dillon shot for the extra point. Time to run out the clock.
0:00: That’s the game! The Sharks roll past the Canucks 7-2, sweeping their Western Canadian road trip and taking the Pacific Division lead!
The Sharks arrived in Vancouver not only looking to sweep their trip through Western Canada and build on a five-game winning streak, but also eyeing the opportunity to take the Pacific Division lead from the Calgary Flames. Once again San Jose will be without the services of Erik Karlsson, who will be missing his eighth straight game due to a lower body injury.
The Canucks enter tonight’s game just outside the playoff picture, sitting two points behind the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. Vancouver might not have the strongest lineup in the NHL, but as their 4-3 shootout victory on Saturday over the Flames showed, Elias Pettersson and Jacob Markstrom can single-handedly steal games from even the toughest opponents.
For San Jose to fly home with another two points in their pocket, they can’t take the Canucks lightly. Vancouver’s knack for catching teams off guard and keeping games closer than expected has surprised a number of clubs this season, and the Sharks will need to be ready for it from the second the puck drops.
The Sharks' lineup will stay mostly the same from Saturday’s win over the Oilers, with Lukas Radil replacing Dylan Gambrell on Pete DeBoer’s fourth line.
Timo Meier — Logan Couture — Joe Pavelski
Evander Kane — Tomas Hertl — Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen — Joe Thornton — Kevin Labanc
Lukas Radil — Barclay Goodrow — Melker Karlsson
Radim Simek — Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Tim Heed
Brenden Dillon — Justin Braun
Across the ice, the Canucks will welcome a newcomer into the lineup. Zack MacEwen will suit up for his very first NHL game alongside Bo Horvat and former Shark Nikolay Goldobin.
Nikolay Goldobin — Bo Horvat — Zack MacEwen
Josh Leivo — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser
Antoine Roussel — Jay Beagle — Jake Virtanen
Loui Eriksson — Markus Granlund — Tyler Motte
Chris Tanev — Erik Gudbranson
Ben Hutton — Troy Stecher
Derrick Pouliot — Alex Biega
Where to Watch
You can catch tonight’s game on NBC Sports California or over the radio on 98.5 KFOX, with puck drop at 7:00 p.m. Pacific. Check back here then for live updates and reactions.