Unfortunately the Vancouver Canucks rang in 2012 on the same note they left 2011 on.
Of course the Canucks were playing their fifth game in eight days since Boxing Day and the Sharks had been resting since December 28, when they lost to the Canucks 3-2 in OT.
With that game still fresh on their minds, and the Canucks not fresh, the Sharks exacted revenge with a 3-2 extra time win of their own, their first win over the Canucks since a 4-3 win in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
Onto the Love’Em and Hate’Em for the Sharks matchup.
Once again, Roberto Luongo was the Canucks’ best player in the losing cause.
With the Sharks exerting the majority of the offensive pressure in this game, Luongo came up huge as he often does to help keep the Canucks within striking distance.
He even looked good in the shootout, never once flopping down onto his belly.
The other reason the Canucks earned a point last night was thanks to Cody Hodgson‘s third period equalizer, capping a great night for the kid.
He was robbed on a breakaway but was able to help set up Hansen on a 3-on-1 that opened the scoring in this game.
The kid seems to take another step every couple of games and is quickly shedding the bust label that his injury misfortunes somehow tagged him with.
We could be looking at a future Canucks captain here.
And again the Honey Badger strikes.
It wasn’t Jannik Hansen‘s prettiest effort, relying on a deflection off Jamie McGinn to find the back of the net, but when every goal you score is adding to your career high and it’s barely January, who cares?
He was the Canucks unsung hero last year, and his breakout year this season is making sure everyone in Vancouver is humming his tune.
His progression is just another example that Alain Vigneault seems to have some secret formula to growing the kids.
Roberto Luongo had a strong night, which it made it even tougher to stomach the Sharks opening goal when Kevin Bieksa laid on the ice in obvious pain while Benn Ferriero enjoyed three shots for a dollar in front of the net.
Still, it could have been worse if Bieksa was seriously hurt on the play, especially after his assist on Hansen’s goal pushed his point streak to seven games.
Joe Thornton heard boos everytime he touched the puck last night (or maybe they were singing the praises of Brent Burns) and he proved he doesn’t crumble under the spotlight.
He made a series of brutal giveaways throughout the game, including one that so beautifully sprang Cody Hodgson on a breakaway that it was either a symptom of a concussion, colour blindness, or just a simple peace offering to the crowd.
He did score in this one to be fair, but again, there is absolutely nothing about Joe Thornton that puts the fear of god into me.
3. The Post
Of course, the Canucks had the time clock on their side at the end of the third as well, but that was just the type of game this was. It could have easily gone either way.
For the Canucks, they’ll have no choice but to regroup before a big game Wednesday against the Wild.
A win puts the Canucks five points up on Minnesota in the division and puts Vancouver in the driver’s seat to claim the last ever Northwest crown.
And then of course on Saturday, they’re shipping up to Boston.