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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, May 5th (All times Eastern)
(3) Vancouver Canucks (0-2) at (6) San Jose Sharks (2-0), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After losing the first two games on home ice, the Vancouver Canucks will aim for their first win of the Western Conference quarterfinals when they visit the San Jose Sharks for Game 3 at HP Pavilion.
The third-seeded Canucks are coming off their fifth straight Northwest Division title, but Alain Vigneault's club is two losses away from its second consecutive first-round playoff exit.
However, Vancouver hopes the return of No. 1 goaltender Cory Schneider can help it get on the board on Sunday.
The Sharks took Game 1 by a 3-1 score before grabbing a 2-0 edge in the best- of-seven series with Friday's overtime victory. Former Canuck Raffi Torres scored the game-winner 5:31 into OT, lifting sixth-seeded San Jose to the 3-2 decision at Rogers Arena.
It was a disheartening loss for the Canucks, who trailed 1-0 after 40 minutes before taking a 2-1 lead in the third on a pair of goals from Ryan Kesler. However, Patrick Marleau scored for San Jose with just 55.1 seconds remaining in regulation, setting up Torres' OT heroics.
Brent Burns blocked a left point shot in his own end and picked the puck up in the neutral zone to begin the winning play. Skating down the right wing on a 2-on-1 break, he fed the puck over to the left wing where Torres one-timed it home for the win.
"I think it shows a lot about our team," said Torres. "We give up the lead, they were playing great. They were coming at us with everything. We showed a lot of determination, a lot of perseverance."
With Schneider battling through his undisclosed injury, Roberto Luongo got the starting nod again for the Canucks in Game 2 and he was tagged with the loss after allowing all three goals on 30 shots. However, the Canucks revealed Sunday afternoon that Schneider would start Game 3, pushing Luongo to a backup role.
"Cory's playing. He's good to go," Vigneault said.
The Canucks never revealed the nature of Schneider's injury, which also caused him to miss the last two games of the regular season. The 27-year-old American has seen action in eight career playoff games, posting a 1-2 record and 1.91 goals against average.
Luongo, a former team captain for the Canucks, has a 32-31 lifetime record in the playoffs.
Joe Thornton scored in the first period on Friday while Antti Niemi made 29 saves for the Sharks, who will also host Game 4 on Tuesday. San Jose was 17-2-5 on home ice during the regular season compared to an 8-14-2 mark on the road.
Kesler has two of Vancouver's three goals in this postseason after Kevin Bieksa notched the team's lone score in Game 1.
"We deserved better and it didn't fall that way," said Kesler. "You've got to win four and there are plenty of games left and we need to go on a winning streak here."
San Jose played Game 2 without forward Martin Havlat, who is dealing with a lower-body issue and is questionable for Sunday. Fellow forward Scott Gomez (undisclosed) and defenseman Jason Demers (ankle) are also questionable for Game 3.
These teams met just once before in the playoffs, with the Canucks taking the Western Conference final series in 2011 in a five-game victory.
San Jose won all three contests against Vancouver in the regular season.
05/05 15:53:59 ET