NHL Game Summary - Vancouver at San Jose
(Thursday, April 8th)
Final Score: San Jose 4, Vancouver 2
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Joe Pavelski scored the first of four straight Sharks goals and Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves, as San Jose held on for a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks in a chippy contest at HP Pavilion.
Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Manny Malhotra also scored for San Jose, which moved in front of idle Chicago for the lead in the Western Conference. Having already clinched the Pacific Division, the Sharks increased their point total to 111 with one game to play. The Blackhawks have 109 points and two games left.
Pavol Demitra and Andrew Alberts scored for the Northwest Division-champion Canucks, who are locked into the No. 3 seed in the West. Andrew Raycroft allowed all four goals on 31 shots.
"I think we've got to get back to basics, we've got to play better," said Vancouver's Henrik Sedin, who had an assist to increase his NHL-best point total to 108. "This is a tough building to play in for sure. We knew that coming in. This is the time when we have to really dig deep and find ways to play better defensively."
With the Sharks holding the four-goal lead, the third period turned into a series of scrums and isolated fights about nine minutes in. The contest had 96 total penalty minutes and 26 penalties, most of which were called between the 6:24 and 9:46 marks of the third period.
"It's sports and that's just the nature of the beast," Thornton said. "Some games are a little bit smoother than others. Tonight I just got kind of fired up a little bit, but for whatever reason, I'm not sure."
Game misconducts were issued for Vancouver's Ryan Kesler and San Jose's Jamie McGinn, Ryane Clowe and Niclas Wallin during this sequence.
"I thought in that situation there was a lot of emotion in the game," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "We perhaps lost our composure a little bit, but what I liked about it was there was emotion in it. I'm sure it's probably good for both teams heading into the playoffs."
Once the game resumed in earnest, the Canucks got a pair of quick goals to slash their deficit by two. Demitra netted a power-play score at 10:26, and at 12:03, Alberts' point shot deflected off San Jose's Douglas Murray before going in the net to make it a 4-2 game.
However, the Sharks regained their footing and held to win and set the pace atop the conference.
The Sharks built their lead quickly around the turn of the first two periods. With time winding down in the opening frame, Ryane Clowe managed to come away with the puck while battling with two Canucks along the right boards in Vancouver's zone. Clowe skated toward the crease and dished a pass across the ice for Pavelski, who put the puck in net with 1:25 left.
Then, 1:57 into the middle period, Couture tipped in Marc-Edouard Vlasic's point blast to make it 2-0. Thornton added his 20th of the year a little more than three minutes later.
The Sharks held the three-goal cushion until Malhotra scored with 3:19 left in the period, making it a 4-0 contest headed into the second intermission.
Vancouver closed its road schedule Thursday, finishing with an away record of 19-20-2...San Jose finishes the regular season Saturday at home against Phoenix...The Sharks went 3-1-0 against Vancouver this season, winning by a 4-2 score in all three victories...Sedin is two points away from tying Pavel Bure's team record for points in a season (110), which he set in 1992-93.
04/09 02:46:41 ET