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NHL Game Summary - San Jose at Vancouver



(Thursday, February 26th)

Final Score: Vancouver 3, San Jose 2 (OT)

Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Brent Sopel scored his second goal of the game on a power play in overtime to lift the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks at GM Place.

Sopel also scored in the second period and assisted on Mattias Ohlund's tying goal late in the third, as Vancouver won its second straight game. Dan Cloutier made 19 saves in the victory.

Scott Thornton and Marco Sturm scored for the Sharks, who had a two-game win streak stopped but recorded a point for the fifth time in six games (4-1-0-1). Vesa Toskala was strong in the San Jose net with 33 saves, but left a number of long rebounds that came back to haunt him.

The Canucks tied it at 2-2 with 3:06 left in third period. Artem Chubarov won a draw in the left circle and drew the puck back to Sopel, who fired a shot from the center point. Toskala made the save and the long rebound caromed into the left circle for Ohlund, who blasted a high shot past the screened netminder into the top right corner for his ninth goal of the season.

"We were under some huge pressure for 10 or 15 minutes and I think Ohlund's goal, if you gave him 10 pucks there, he'd never make that shot again," said Toskala. "It was perfect, upstairs."

Each team had a great scoring chance in the first 30 seconds of overtime. The Canucks failed to convert a wide open net on the opening rush and Sturm was denied on a partial breakaway moments later.

The Sharks were then whistled for a questionable too many men on the ice penalty and the Canucks were able to cash in.

Early in the power play, Toskala made a great save on a point shot and stacked the pads to deny Markus Naslund's rebound chance.

The Canucks kept buzzing in the San Jose zone and worked the puck around the perimeter, as Sopel sent it back to the center point for Sami Salo, who then fired a pass into the right circle for Naslund. Toskala stopped Naslund's shot, but again the long rebound went directly into the left circle for Sopel, who fired the puck into the empty side of the cage to win it.

"It was huge," Sopel said of how open the net was. "But it was a good play by everybody else. We moved the puck around, Sami got it around and Nazzy was there. And Bert [Todd Bertuzzi] was there in front. I just had a yawning cage."

Vancouver was 2-for-5 on the power play after entering the contest 1-for-29 in its previous six games.

Sturm's incredible individual effort gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 4:22 of the third. He picked up the puck in his own zone near the right boards, skated it out to center and over the Vancouver blue line, then split two defenders while moving through the left circle and shot the rolling puck past Cloutier.

The goal was Sturm's 20th of the season and extended his point streak to six games. He reached 20 goals for the third time in his career.

The Sharks took a 1-0 lead at 12:17 of the first period on Thornton's 13th goal of the season. Jonathan Cheechoo worked the puck into the left circle from behind the net and lost control. Thornton picked up the puck in the low slot, dragged it around a fallen Cloutier and deposited a shot into the empty cage.

The Canucks tied it on a power play with 6:53 to play in the second period. Sopel took a pass from Nolan Baumgartner and fired a high shot from the outer edge of the left circle that squeezed past Toskala.

"Vancouver is a tough team to beat," Toskala added. "You have to be happy with the one point, but also with five minutes to go in the third we were leading by one goal. I was a little disappointed, but one point from here is good."

Game Notes

Sopel has eight goals this season...Naslund was back in the Vancouver lineup after missing three games with a mild concussion sustained on February 16 against Colorado...The Canucks improved to 9-4-7 in overtime, tying St. Louis for the most overtime wins this season...San Jose fell to 1-6-11 in the extra period...The Sharks lost defenseman Kyle McLaren and forward Mike Ricci in the first period to injury. McLaren was hit in the head with a puck and Ricci appeared to injure his right shoulder on a hit along the boards...The Sharks had won the first two meetings of the season and four straight dating back to last year.

02/27 01:31:07 ET


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