For the first time in franchise history, the San Jose Sharks swept a playoff series after a 4-3 overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night, becoming the first team this postseason to punch their ticket to round number two.
Patrick Marleau scored the game-winning goal in overtime, tapping in a rebound left by Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider off a shot by Joe Thornton, a result of a power play produced when Daniel Sedin was called for boarding on Tommy Wingels.
The Sharks had control of the game throughout, outshooting Vancouver 47-35 and had plenty more scoring opportunities, especially in the overtime period. The way they were playing, it only seemed like a formality before someone would light the lamp to conclude the sweep.
The Sharks got on the board first less than three minutes into the game, when Scott Hannan’s shot from the blue line was deflected in on a nice touch by Brent Burns.
Vancouver responded a short time later, after some good work by Mason Raymond in the Sharks’ zone, carrying it from behind the net to the point and firing a shot that took a deflection past Niemi.
Niemi made a huge save off of Raymond a little later to preserve the tie, sliding across to stop him on a Canucks power play.
The period would not end without some physicality, however. Canucks forward Derek Roy delivered a dirty hit to Brad Stuart right in front of the benches. Stuart stayed down after the hit and spent some time in the dressing room before returning to the game.
San Jose would make Roy pay for his actions. On the ensuing power play, Joe Pavelski turned and fired a low shot from the slot, one that Schneider never saw because of the numerous amount of bodies in front. It was Pavelski’s third goal of the playoffs.
The Sharks failed to score on a four-minute power play midway through the second period when Den Hamhuis was called for high sticking and cutting Tommy Wingels. However, despite a flurry of shots and opportunities — including an empty net opportunity for Joe Thornton — the Sharks could not capitalize.
The Sharks dominated the second period of play, outshooting Vancouver 18-4 and recording nine scoring chances to the Canucks’ zero, but the period ended scoreless and San Jose took a 2-1 lead into the third.
However, credit the Canucks for some late-game heroics that, at the time, saved their season.
On a power play midway through the period, a nice passing display from Henrik and Daniel Sedin set up Alexandre Burrows, who tapped it in to tie the game.
Vancouver would take the lead just about a minute later, when Burrows beat a couple Sharks to the puck in the attacking zone, and set up Alexander Edler for a one-timer past Niemi. Just like that, the Canucks led 3-2.
Ironically, it was Kevin Bieksa who let the Sharks back in the game by taking a cross-checking penalty with under six minutes to play, and Pavelski would net his second goal of the game on a scramble in front.
The Sharks will likely draw the Blackhawks in the second round, should Chicago finish off their series against the Wild in which they lead 3-1.