NHL Game Summary - Vancouver at San Jose
(Thursday, January 10th)
Final Score: San Jose 3, Vancouver 1
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Joe Thornton assisted on all three goals and Evgeni Nabokov was solid with 20 saves, as San Jose completed a season sweep of the Vancouver Canucks with a 3-1 win at the Shark Tank.
Craig Rivet and Jeremy Roenick scored for the Sharks, who have won two straight and six of their last seven games. With the win, San Jose -- which captured all four meetings with Vancouver this season -- pulled into a tie for first place with the Dallas Stars in the Pacific Division. Milan Michalek added a power-play goal in the win.
"I don't know why," said Nabokov when asked about San Jose's stellar play against the Canucks this season. "Maybe it's the schedule -- I don't know, but we seem to skate really well against them, use our speed to create some opportunities and second shots."
Ryan Kesler scored the only goal for Vancouver, which saw its two-game win streak halted and failed to register at least a point for only the third time in its last 11 games overall (7-3-1). Roberto Luongo allowed three goals on 31 shots in the loss.
The Sharks opened the scoring with 5:52 remaining in the first period when Rivet netted his fourth goal of the season. The Canucks were applying serious pressure in their offensive zone, but an errant pass from the point by Willie Mitchell was intercepted by Thornton, who skated the other way with the puck on a 3-on-2 rush.
Near the blue line, Thornton passed to the right side for Mike Grier, who then left a drop pass for Rivet in the high slot. Rivet drifted into the right circle and beat Luongo with a low wrister.
"We played solid tonight, right from the drop of the puck," said Thornton. "We played hard, and it was just a solid, good win for us."
Roenick's power-play tally at the 5:06 mark of the second gave the hosts a two-goal edge. Rivet released a wrist shot from the left point and Luongo made the save, but the rebound caromed directly to Roenick, who was all alone near the right post and easily slid home a backhander for his eighth goal.
San Jose's second power-play goal of the game -- this one 6:15 into the final stanza -- pushed the San Jose lead to three. With Aaron Miller in the penalty box for holding, the Sharks held control in their offensive zone and Thornton streaked through the slot with control of the puck before he dished it off to Michalek near the right post. Michalek corralled the bouncing disc and lifted it over the shoulder of Luongo to the near side.
"I thought we were very efficient -- great job of forechecking and shutting them down in the middle," said Sharks coach Ron Wilson. "We created a lot of power-play opportunities by skating hard and challenging their defense. All in all, I was really pleased with the effort of everybody."
With 7:35 remaining in regulation, the visitors finally solved Nabokov. Marcel Goc's turnover in the San Jose defensive zone allowed Kesler to gain control. From a sharp angle along the base of the right half-wall near the goal line, Kesler fired a wrist shot toward the net and it deflected off a surprised Nabokov and into the net.
Vancouver gained momentum from the goal, but its comeback bid was dealt a blow when Jason Jaffray was whistled for high-sticking with six minutes to go. The Sharks controlled the puck for most of the 120-second stretch and also killed off the remaining minutes in regulation to seal the victory.
"(Special teams) was obviously a big part of the game," Kesler said. "We took a late penalty and we were taking a lot of penalties all night. That was the difference"
The Sharks have now won two straight at home after a five-game winless streak at HP Pavilion (0-3-2)...Vancouver forward Jeff Cowan, who had missed 13 games with a shoulder injury, returned to action...Thornton has 36 assists this season...It was Kesler's 11th goal...The Canucks registered only three shots on goal in the first period... Earlier Thursday, Vancouver claimed forward Kris Beech off waivers from the Blue Jackets....The Sharks were 2-for-7 on the power play and held the visitors scoreless on their two chances with the extra skater...Attendance was 17,496.
01/11 02:00:25 ET