“Hits and Misses” for Canucks at Sharks 3/10/11
Ryane Clowe – Clowe had himself a two goal night, including the game-tying goal with only 21 seconds left in the third period to send the game into overtime. Clowe’s first goal of the game, his 20th of the season, came at the 2:04 mark of the second period on an awesome individual effort that tied the game at 2-2. Sharks forward Logan Couture chipped the puck off the board from the blue-line into the Canucks zone and Clowe played the puck off the boards. With the puck on his stick, Clowe made an aggressive move towards Canucks goalie Cory Schneider by deking the puck to his backhand and at the last second, brought the puck back to his forehand for the shot. The puck hit and rolled off of Schneider’s left leg pad into the net for the goal. Clowe’s second goal of the game, his 21st of the season, came on the Power Play with the Sharks having a 6-on-4 advantage as the result of a Canucks penalty and pulling goalie Antti Niemi for an extra skater. Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who was standing at the side of the goal crease, passed the puck out in front to Clowe, who was standing in front of Schneider and Clowe tipped the puck into the net to tie the game at 4-4. It is the second time in Clowe’s career he has scored 20 goals in a season.
Torrey Mitchell – Mitchell blew the roof off of HP Pavilion with a jaw-dropping goal at 17:47 of the third period to tie the game at 3-3. Mitchell took the puck at center-ice and split three Canucks defenders and sniped a shot pass Schneider for his fifth goal of the year and first goal in 20 games.
Devin Setoguchi – Setoguchi got the Sharks on the scoreboard at 0:57 of the second period with his 19th goal of the season to cut the Canucks lead to 2-1. Setoguchi received a pass from Thornton in the slot and fired a shot at Schneider, who made the initial save. Setoguchi followed his own shot and put home a backhanded shot that fluttered over Schneider top shelf.
Antti Niemi – Making his 23rd consecutive start in net for the Sharks, Niemi stopped 24-out-of-28 shots and stood on his head in the first period when the Sharks were out-shot by the Canucks 12-7 and had trouble clearing the puck out of their own zone. In addition, Niemi made a huge save on former Shark Manny Malhotra, who broke in all alone short-handed late in the third period, to keep the score 3-2 at the time.
Penalty Killers – Despite allowing two Power Play goals, the Sharks Penalty Killers were a solid 5-for-7 tonight and killed five straight Canucks Power Plays until the Daniel Sedin goal at 18:11 of the third period.
Joe Thornton – With his assists on the Setoguchi and Clowe goals, Thornton now has 401 assists as a San Jose Shark, making him the all time assists leader in Sharks history, three ahead of Patrick Marleau‘s 398.
Ian White – White again had a game high four blocked shots, giving him 25 in his last seven games.
Sharks Team – Despite losing in a shootout, the San Jose Sharks have nothing to be ashamed of as they proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to everyone watching and to themselves that they can go toe-for-toe with the best team in the NHL and beat them in a seven game series should they meet in the playoffs. The Sharks were able to take the Canucks best shot and were still resilient enough to dig down deep and fight back multiple times to tie the game and earn at least one point. The Sharks now sit atop the Pacific Division with 85 points, four ahead of the second place Phoenix Coyotes, and now only trail the Detroit Red Wings by one point for second place in the Western Conference.
Shootout – This was a game of the year candidate that should have had a conclusive and decisive winner. Instead, the game was decided by a shootout, proving why this terrible concept should be abolished from the NHL. I would much rather have the teams play overtime until there’s a winner, just like in the playoffs, because once the game reaches the shootout frame, the game is practically over because the game is no longer about a team concept but instead, an individual one. I don’t think the 17,500 fans at HP Pavilion would have mind staying late into the night to see this game unfold in playoff style overtime periods.
Power Play – While the Sharks Power Play was not atrocious as it had been in previous games and were able to score late in the third period with a two-man advantage to send the game into overtime, that still does not excuse the fact that the Power Play unit went 1-for-7 with the man advantage and are now 3-for-21 since Dan Boyle‘s injury. The Sharks cannot use Boyle’s injury as a crutch as the sole reason for the Power Play woes as there are other offensive weapons on the Power Play unit that need to step up, specifically, Thornton, Marleau and Dany Heatley.
Referees – Had I shown this game to someone I was trying to get into hockey, the poor person would not have known what was a penalty and what wasn’t based on how this officiating crew called the game. For the love of God’s green earth, is it too much to ask for the officiating crew to call the game fairly?
First Period – The Sharks came out sluggish in the opening period and had the game taken to them by an aggressive Canucks team. The Sharks had no rhythm on offense, couldn’t establish puck control in the Canucks zone and couldn’t clear the puck out of their own zone. In addition, the Sharks were out-shot 12-7 and found themselves trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Dany Heatley – Heatley’s play in the first period was just plain awful. First, Heatley got beat in front of his own goal crease by Canucks Alexandre Burrows, who used his body to gain position on Heatley and buried home a point blank shot on Niemi after receiving a behind the net pass from teammate Daniel Sedin. Nearly four minutes later, Heatley took an ill-advised hooking penalty, which led to a Canucks Power Play goal as Canucks Sami Salo scored on a slapshot from just inside the blue-line after the Canucks won a scrum for the loose puck along the boards in the Sharks zone.