It took overtime to decide the winner of this game with none other than Raffi Torres scoring the winning goal on a two-on-one break 5:31 into the period.
He received a great pass from Brent Burns who ignited the odd-man rush after blocking a shot at his own blue-line. The goal came after the Canucks had a few minutes of sustained pressure, even forcing the Sharks to use their timeout on an icing call.
It was another goaltending duel between Antti Niemi and Roberto Luongo this evening with both goaltenders standing on their heads’ at certain times during the game. Niemi finished with 29 saves while Luongo finished with 30 in the losing effort.
A big story of the game was special teams where the Sharks went 0 for 5 on the man-advantage. They were completely neutralized by Vancouver’s penalty kill and had problems even getting into the offensive zone, let alone getting set up. The Canucks’ power play also scored once, at a key point in the game no less, and went 1 for 3 for the night.
The game was sent into overtime when Patrick Marleau scored with under a minute left in regulation with the Sharks in full offensive mode with Niemi pulled trying to get the game-tying goal.
He scored on his own rebound as he went to the front of the net and found the puck sitting right next to the goal-line after it had squeaked through Luongo’s pads. He crashed the net hard and tapped the puck in tying the game at two apiece and more importantly giving the Sharks new life.
Before that, in the third period, it was all Vancouver. They were down 1-0 after the early goal by Joe Thornton in the first period but eventually tied and took over the lead. Ryan Kessler scored both goals for the Canucks in the final frame of regulation.
His first goal was on the power play when he fired a blast from the point and beat Niemi high to the glove side with plenty of guys screening in front. His second goal was another slapshot from the slot after an egregious turnover by Joe Pavelski who had the puck on his stick and then lost it. Kesler made him pay and after that goal it was 2-1 Vancouver. They held all the momentum at that point until the Marleau tied the game for San Jose.
San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski also put a goal into the net although it was called back after Tommy Wingels had interfered with Luongo after getting pushed into him by a Canucks defenseman. It was a big play at the time, but one that did not end up hurting the Sharks in the end.
The Sharks pulled out the gutsy win considering they were heavily outplayed for a majority of the game. Vancouver won in hits, faceoffs, offensive zone time, turnovers, puck possession… you name it, the Canucks won it. Well, except for the only stat that matters in the end, goals.
The next game of the series, which occurs on Sunday at 7pm pacific time, will take place at the Shark Tank in San Jose as the Sharks look to continue their strong home record from the regular season.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Raffi Torres, SJ (game winning goal, +2)
2. Ryan Kessler, VAN (2 goals, 7 hits, 66% faceoffs)
3. Patrick Marleau, SJ (game tying goal, 2 hits)