Playoff Game of the Night

2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Western Conference Finals
Game 3: Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks @ HP Pavilion
3-4 Final; Vancouver leads the series 2-1

After a big blowout of a win on Wednesday night, the Canucks look to continue to win every battle in the Shark Tank. Whoever said that the Sharks had the home-ice advantage may be proven wrong. Many Canuck fans made the trip and when O Canada was being sung, it sounded like it was in the Great White North with the stands singing the lyrics loud and proud!

The Sharks on the other hand got some stern talking to from their coach, Todd McLellan. Would that change the way they would play tonight or would the results end up similar to that of the past two games?

Using the fans' momentum to their advantage, Patrick Marleau sneaked in the first goal of the game on the PP. Marleau was set up by Joe Thornton, who started the initial set-up of it all. The Canucks tried to shove Marleau out of the front of the crease, but Marleau stayed and got the puck to sneak through Roberto Luongo's.

Continuing on the momentum of the goal, nearly 3 minutes after the goal was made, the Sharks were awarded a 4-minute power-play and scored 1.5 minutes into it. Ryane Clowe got the 2-nothing goal from a rebound off of Luongo's pads and Dan Boyle's shot.

For nearly 15 minutes of play, the Canucks had one shot to San Jose's fifteen shots! Only nearer to the sixteenth-minute mark did we get our second goal. Maybe a reason for the non-Vancouver-like score is the non-Vancouver-like shots-on-goal total?

Not getting off to the start they wanted at all, the Canucks ended up down 3-0 after a Marleau breakaway. No player in a white jersey looked like they did in a blue jersey. No matter how much speed they had on their side, the Sharks had the speed of the puck on their side and had the Canucks watching them and the puck all first period.

A scoreless twenty minutes passed by in the second period, but that didn't mean a thing as to how the rest of the game would go. Just a minute and nine into the final period, Alex Burrows got the first Canucks' goal of the night! Kevin Bieksa had the initial effort but was stopped by Antti Niemi. His rebound, though, would find its way to Burrows's stick and he would just flip the rubber disk over a sprawled Niemi to break the Finn's shutout.

Just as the Canucks were building momentum from the goal, Ryan Kesler was penalised by the zebras. And then 30 seconds after that penalty was called, Alex Burrows was sent to the sin-bin! Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but those two calls at the same time seemed a little fishy! Our two best penalty-killers in the bin at the same time does not happen by coincidence! On their 5-on-3, the Sharks tallied one more to regain the three-goal lead thanks to a quick shot taken by Boyle after a passing game between him and Marleau occurred.

And then the hit. In Game 2, the controversial hit of the night was Ben Eager's hit on Daniel Sedin. Tonight, it was Jamie McGinn's hit on Aaron Rome. It didn't take long for the refs to call it a boarding major and a game misconduct. No miss calls on those hits tonight. The other stuff, well...

On the 5-minute PP, Dan Hamhuis cut the score in half with the game's fourth PPG. Hamhuis took it right at the sweet-spot on the faceoff circle to Niemi's left after a pass from Henrik Sedin set the defenceman up for the one-timer. And then it rained! Still on the 5-minute major, Kevin Bieksa slappered a shot from the blue-line and watched as it beat Niemi and the Sharks' defence to bring Vancouver within one!

But no matter how close it was, the Sharks were the one to go away with the win. San Jose was lucky to avoid the breakdown late in the game like prior in their playoff lives. No matter, there are still four more games to be played, two of which will be won by Vancouver.

3 stars:
(1) Joe Thornton
(2) Patrick Marleau
(3) Douglas Murray

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