Game 23: Nice Win!
Cory Schneider played his best game of the season and Vancouver’s power play came through with a timely goal to help the Canucks sweep their three game road trip with a 3-2 victory over the Sharks Saturday.
After building a shutout streak against three non-playoff teams earlier in the week, Schneider stood tall against a talented Sharks lineup to keep the Canucks ahead.
Schneider stopped Patrick Marleau early on a first period breakaway and late with the extra attacker for two of his 43 saves Saturday night, earning the goaltender first star in the victory.
Henrik Sedin’s second period power play goal provided the offensive spark for Vancouver after a tough first period in which the Canucks benefited from another glorious bounce against their Western Conference Rivals.
After Kevin Bieksa’s notorious Western Conference Final winning goal during last year’s playoffs, Manny Malhotra’s first period bank-job off of Douglas Murray confirmed that while the NHL might hate the Canucks, the hockey gods hate San Jose.
While Andrew Alberts’ first goal of the season was credited as the game winner Saturday night, the Canucks’ special teams was the difference on a night Vancouver’s skaters struggled to keep up with the circling Sharks.
Joe Thornton was dangerous as always on Saturday night but could have cost his team two points after an undisciplined penalty took San Jose off the man-advantage and gave the Canucks the lead at the midway point of the hockey game.
Jumbo Joe managed to feed Patrick Marleau in a late comeback attempt with the extra attacker but San Jose’s pressure proved too little too late after Alberts added an insurance goal less than a minute after Thornton ‘s costly slash in the second.
Despite dominating the third period the Sharks were unable to solve Cory Schneider until it was too late on Saturday.
Kevin Bieksa’s icing attempts made things interesting late in the game, however Marleau’s late marker wasn’t enough to capitalize on the blueliner’s missed chances at an empty net.
In the relative relaxation of a regular season game Vancouver should learn a lesson from the second half of Saturday’s contest, Bieksa and the Canucks can’t always count on Schneiderman’s web to catch them.