photo from sfgate.com: Thatcher Demko (35) goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks goes into the defensive posture against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose on Saturday night. Demko stopped 24 San Jose shots for the Sharks second consecutive home stand loss.
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost 5-2 to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday at the SAP Center. This was the first road win for the Canucks in San Jose since March 31, 2016, and it added a fifth to the Sharks’ second four-loss streak of the season. Canucks goals were scored by Brandon Sutter, Elias Pettersson, Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette. Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko made 24 saves for the win. The Sharks goals were scored by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Evander Kane. Goaltender Aaron Dell made 23 saves for the Sharks.
After the game, Sharks captain Logan Couture talked about the question of confidence during a losing streak:
For a lot of us, we’ve done some really really good things in this league, we’ve been successful players in this league for a long time. I think we need to get that swagger, that confidence back that we’ve had here for so many years. You know, it’s tough when you’re losing, it is very very difficult to feel confident when you’ve got the puck to make that play when you’ve got the extra second.
Are the Sharks losing patience with each other in the midst of this lousy start? After the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon warned that that was a danger, but then said: “It’s pretty easy to look at the guy next to you instead of looking at yourself. Again, we’ve got a lot of skill on this team, a lot of talent. Guys that have been here for a long time… know what it takes to win. I think everybody, if we can believe back in that and just get into that we’re going to be okay.”
Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter started the scoring at 4:17 of the first period. Josh Leivo took a shot from above the faceoff circle. Dell stopped that, but came out a ways to do so and then kicked out a rebound. Sutter picked up the rebound and got it in the net before Dell could get back in position. It was Sutter’s fourth of the season.
Elias Pettersson doubled up Vancover’s lead with a goal at 12:46. Brock Boeser’s pass came out to center above the hash marks, where Pettersson was ready for it. Dell and Brendand Dillon did not seem ready for it and Pettersson’s shot went right through them. It was Pettersson’s fifth of the season. Assists went to Boeser and Bo Horvat.
The Sharks’ penalty kill held the Canucks to one shot on their first period power play. Vancouver still outshot the Sharks 14-8.
Jake Virtanen added a third goal for the Canucks, just 45 seconds into the second period. His shot went right into Dell and then over his leg. Dell went down and had the puck in his legs, and the on ice official called it no goal. After an official review, the call was overturned. Assists went to Alexader Edler and Tyler Myers.
At 5:11, Adam Gaudette scored Vancouver’s fourth on a broken tic-tack-toe play that drew Aaron Dell and two defenders to the right side of the net, allowing the puck to get by on the left. The goal came during a delayed penalty against the Sharks. The puck seemed to be on its way to Troy Stecher as he closed on the net behind the mass of bodies to one side. Instead, it went off of one of those bodies and into the net.
The Sharks had two power plays in the second period, and got six shots with the man advantage. the teams were tied for shots in the second period at eight apiece.
At the end of the second, Joe Thorton was called for cross-checking Jay Beagle, putting Vancouver on the power play to start the third period. The Canucks did not get a shot during that power play. The Sharks had their own power play chance at 2:38, in which they got two shots, but no goal.
The Sharks finally got on the board with a short-handed goal from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Barclay Goodrow. They broke away and were able to go in two-on-one and score at 10:51.
The Canucks power play turned into a two-man advantage not long after that, when Joe Thornton was boxed for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Sharks survived that, but after the first penalty expired, they gave up a fifth goal. It was Pettersson’s second of the night, with an assist to JT Miller.
Evander Kane added the Sharks’ second goal with just 22 seconds left in regulation. He skated into the zone with Tomas Hertl and went around the Canucks defense to shoot. His first shot came back as a rebound, but he picked it up and put it away. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Erik Karlsson.
The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:00 PM PT in San Jose.
Lukas Radil was in Saturday, with Jonny Brodzinsky back out of the lineup.