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Life! Canucks Take A Big Step, 4-2 Over the Sharks

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Vancouver Canucks, Conor Garland
Conor Garland broke a 20-game goalless drought and gave the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 lead against the San Jose Sharks.

Vancouver Canucks 4, San Jose Sharks 2

No Tanner Pearson or Brock Boeser for the Canucks, both out with minor injuries. Quinn Hughes returned after missing two games to a stomach flu. The Canucks dressed 7 defencemen and 11 forwards with Brad Hunt expected to spend some time on the wing.

Goaltenders:

Kaapo Kahkonen, the 25-year-old Finn acquired from the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline, vs. Thatcher Demko.

Feisty and Physical First

That would best describe the pace and mood to start this one. Big hits from both teams in the first five minutes and then a fight between Will Lockwood of the Canucks and Noah Gregor of the Sharks at the 5:10 mark. They two had fought one another earlier this season in the American League. (AHL)

The biggest hit was Kyle Burroughs delivering one to Ryan Merkley in the opening moments that sent the Sharks defenceman woozily to the dressing room. It started the sequence that led to the Vancouver Canucks first period goal. Merkley returned late in the period.

For the third game in a row Vancouver ‘started on time’. The team looked motivated and so did its opponent. They both went hard from the opening puck drop to the horn. Each team has 15 shots and a goal in the 1st period.

Goal Scorers

1st Period 1-0 Vancouver – Jason Dickinson (4) – Unassisted (2:03) Even Strength

((– On a rush down the right wing, Dickinson cut hard to the net around the goalie and tucked it in, his first goal in twenty games played.))

1st Period 1-1 San Jose – Tomas Hertl (28) – Timo Meier, Erik Karlsson (7:33) Power Play

((– A rebound off Demko’s stick bounced right in front for an easy rebound swat.))

2nd Period 2-1 Vancouver – Conor Garland (15) – Alex Chiasson (4:49) Even Strength

((– Chiasson made a nice defensive play to allow Garland to rush up the left wing alone, where he gained the circle and ripped one short-side.))

2nd Period 2-2 San Jose – Nick Bonino (11) – Brent Burns, Noah Gregor (18:37) Even Strength

((– Bonino tipped a point shot in the high slot past a screen and past Demko who never saw it.))

3rd Period 3-2 Vancouver – Alex Chiasson (10) – Bo Horvat, Tyler Myers (2:07) Even Strength

((– A fortuitous carom ended up on Chiasson’s stick at the bottom of the LW circle and his shot went short-side post and in.))

3rd Period 4-2 Vancouver – Luke Schenn (4) – Unassisted (19:59) Empty-netter, Shorthanded

((– Picked up a failed clear on the RW boards in the offensive zone and immediately buried it.))

Special Teams

The Canucks earned the first power play just 2:39 into the game but failed to click. Vancouver would end up 0-for-3 in the period while the Sharks went 1-for-3.

The Sharks goal came on a 5-on-3 after Vasily Podkolzin went off for cross checking at 6:33 and JT Miller followed for slashing at 6:55. The latter was not a good penalty. Miller was trying to create a scoring chance by giving D-man Brent Burns a whack but it was way too aggressive and it took place 160 feet away from his own net.

In the 2nd period things were a wee bit mellower, but still fast paced. The Vancouver Canucks earned the first power play again. San Jose’s Jonathan Dahlen went for tripping Lockwood at 5:42. The Canucks failed to click while the Sharks hit the post shorthanded.

Leading the game 2-1 the Canucks had a huge opportunity at 10:46 of the period when Gregor took a silly holding penalty against Bo Horvat. Vancouver had chances. Alex Chiasson came within inches of jamming one in and Elias Pettersson rang one off the post. Nevertheless, 0-for-5 for the Canucks at this point.

Late in the 2nd the teams swapped staggered minors and finished the period on a 4-on-4 that would carry over into the 3rd period.

With the very brief staggered PP’s that ended early in the third period, the Sharks stood at 1-for-4 and the Canucks 0-for-6.

At the 6:13 mark Vancouver actually saw another opportunity after Timo Meier went off for a pretty lame cross checking penalty. The Canucks failed to convert for a seventh time. One would think after all of this that the Sharks would be seeing at least one more power play chance …

… and it would come at 19:20, setting up a 6-on-4 with the net empty and the Sharks down a goal.

The Vancouver Canucks would score an empty-netter shorthanded. Sharks finished 1-for-5, the Canucks 0-for-7.

Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:

3) Tyler Myers – Tallied an assist and had four shots on goal. Effectively joined the rush. Skated 20:04 and was a physical presence.

2) Thatcher Demko – Ended up facing 37 shots and turning aside all but two of them. Some huge ones, needless to say.

1) Alex ChiassonA goal and an assist for a guy who now has six points over his last three games. Finally finding his touch around the net.

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