Canucks center Sam Gagner (89) scores the winning goal in overtime during the NHL game between the San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. Dom Gagne/CSM (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)
by M. Walsh
The San Jose Sharks lost in 4-3 overtime to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. Two Vancouver goals came from Markus Granlund, one from Brock Boeser, and the game winner from Sam Gagner. For the Sharks, Brent Burns scored twice and rookie Marcus Sorensen scored once. Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves on 37 shots for the Canucks, while Martin Jones made 36 saves on 40 shots for San Jose.
The Sharks were coming off a win the night before against Calgary, but they were facing a hungry opponent. Vancouver snapped a four game losing skid with the win, a skid capped off by a 7-1 loss to Nashville on Wednesday.
“This sets up all the things for them to have an A game and they did. They were outstanding early and Jonesy gave us a chance to hang around and we found a way to get an important point on a night we probably didn’t deserve one,” said Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer.
At 4:34 of overtime, Sam Gagner scored on a breakaway to win the game with a quick backhand over Martin Jones’ right shoulder. It was a tough loss after a valiant effort from the goalie to keep his team in the game. The Canucks outshot the Sharks 40-37, with 22 in the first period alone. DeBoer was asked if the three goals that Jones allowed were cause for concern. He said:
You can’t play any better than he played tonight. We didn’t give him a lot of help tonight. In defense of our guys, an emotional win last night in Calgary, the we fly in here on a back to back against a team that’s ready to go. So sometimes that’s what it looks like.
Logan Couture left the game early following a hit from Alexander Burmistrov in the third period. Burmistrov’s shoulder appeared to make contact with Couture’s face. The hit came about five minutes into the period. Couture has had an outstanding season this year, leading the team in scoring with 15 goals and 10 assists through 30 games. After finally getting most of the team healthy again, losing Couture for an extended period would be a big setback for a team that is just getting its game back. There was no update on Couture’s status after the game.
The first goal came on a Vancouver power play just 44 seconds into the game. The zig-zagging play started with Henrik Sedin on the blue line, went to a touch pass by Daniel Sedin and ended as little more than a tap-in for Granlund. Half way into the period, Brent Burns tied the game, again on a power play. His shot went through so many players that it seemed unlikely that it had not touched any of them, but it did not. Assists went to Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski.
The second Vancouver goal came just after a power play expired, while the Sharks penalty killers were trapped and perhaps out of gas in their own zone. A shot came from Daniel Sedin above the faceoff circle. Henrik caught it just above the blue paint and found Granlund. Gralund put the puck between Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and past Jones.
The Canucks scored again at 11:46 of the second period, again on the power play. The Sharks started the penalty kill well with a clear just three seconds in. After retrieving the puck, the Canucks came back fast, with Brock Boeser carrying the puck through the neutral zone and weaving past two Sharks defenders to give himself a short breakaway. That shot did not go in but 12 seconds later Boeser caught a pass in the faceoff circle and with a clear shot at the net he did not miss. Assists went to Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
With under two minutes left in the second, Braun, Jannik Hansen and Sorensen outnumbered the Canucks in a quick rush created when Sorensen intercepted a pass from Troy Stecher. Sorensen scored on a rebound from Braun’s shot after their odd man rush cused a little chaos by the Vancouver net. Assists went to Braun and Hansen.
The tying goal came almost right off of a faceoff in the Canucks zone. Joel Ward won the faceoff back to Burns, whose shot was at least partially screened by Melker Karlsson and Tomas Hertl fighting for position in front of the net. Like his first goal, it made its way through a lot of traffic but did not hit another Shark. The only assist went to Ward.
The overtime point puts the Sharks in third place in the Pacific Division standings with 38 points. The Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Ducks both have 35 points, which is good for fourth and fifth place in the Pacific. Both wild card spots are held by Central Division teams with 37 points.
The Sharks next play on Monday at 6:00 pm PT in Edmonton against the Oilers.