“Hits and Misses” for Canucks at Sharks Game 4 WCF 5/22/11

Result:  Canucks 4, SHARKS 2    {Sharks trail series 1-3}

San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi reacts after Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows scored in the third period to give the Canucks a 4-0 lead. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Andrew Desjardins – Desjardins scored his first goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, first of his career, at 7:02 of the third period to get the Sharks on the scoreboard and cut the Canucks deficit to 4-1.  With the puck inside the Canucks zone, Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic fired a wrist shot on net from the top of the point that Desjardins, who was positioned in the slot in front of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo on the blocker side, deflected with his stick and the puck went pass Luongo for the goal.

Ryane Clowe – Clowe scored his sixth goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 18th of his career, at 15:55 of the third period to cut the Canucks deficit to 4-2.  After a sloppy play in the neutral zone by the Canucks, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau ,whose four game goal streak was snapped, carried the puck into the Canucks zone along the lower side board and chipped a pass up to line-mate Logan Couture, who skated in on Luongo and fired a backhand pass from inside the lower face-off circle to Clowe in the slot.  With the puck on his stick and drifting towards his left, Clowe fired a shot on net that beat Luongo glove side for the goal.

Douglas MurrayMurray tied for a game high four hits today.

MISSES

Sharks Team – Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said after Game 2 that “a team isn’t in trouble in a series until they lose a game at home.”  The Sharks now find themselves in troubled waters as their lackadaisical play through the first 46 minutes of the game cost them a golden opportunity to even the series at 2-2 and now have their backs against the wall as they must win the final three games of the series if they want to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.  If the Sharks are going to come back and win this series, they better start playing like a team that belongs in the Western Conference Final instead of a team that looks like their in pre-season mode.  The disappointing effort given by the Sharks today was the exact opposite of their effort Friday night as the Sharks lacked a “fire in the belly” and looked like a team that had never played together before as they couldn’t skate, pass, kill off penalties, score on Power Play opportunities and constantly turned the puck over in all three zones.  The Sharks did out-shoot the Canucks 35-13 and came alive the final 14 minutes of the game but despite scoring two goals to cut the Canucks deficit to 4-2, it was too little too late as the damaged had already been done. 

Power Play – Coming into today’s game, the Sharks Power Play unit had been responsible for six of the team’s nine goals in the series, having gone 6-for-13 with the man advantage and was the key reason why the Sharks won Game 3 Friday night as three of their four goals came on the Power Play.  Unfortunately for the Sharks and their fans, the Power Play unit WASTED FIVE CONSECUTIVE OPPORTUNITIES with the man advantage in the first 22 minutes of today’s game!  Even worse was the fact that the Sharks Power Play unit never got into a rhythm and failed to establish momentum on any of their Power Play chances. 

Penalty Killers – After killing off two 5-on-3 disadvantages at the tail-end of the second period in Game 3 Friday night, the Sharks Penalty Kill unit surrendered THREE 5-on-3 Power Play goals in a 1:55 span that put the Canucks up 3-0 halfway through the second period, which set a Canucks franchise record for the fastest three goals in playoff history {the old record was 2:18}.  Canucks forward Ryan Kesler scored at 9:16 to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead and defenseman Sami Salo, who had one point entering the series, scored back-to-back goals in a 16 second span at 10:55 and 11:11 to extend the lead to 3-0. 

Coach McLellan – Why on God’s green earth did coach McLellan wait until after it was 3-0 to take his timeout?  Why didn’t McLellan take the timeout before the first 5-on-3 disadvantage or even after the first Canucks goal?  McLellan waiting to use the timeout after it was 3-0 is the equivalent of plugging up a leak in a boat once the boat has been submerged under water as its too little, too late!

Antti Niemi – After making 27 saves on 30 shots in Game 3 Friday night, Niemi had a lemon of a performance today as he allowed four goals on only 13 shots!  All four of the Canucks goals could have been stopped by Niemi, couple of which probably should have been as Niemi was in position but just didn’t make the saves.  Kesler’s goal squeezed right through Niemi’s blocker side;  Salo’s first goal beat Niemi blocker side as well despite Niemi getting a piece of the puck.  Unfortunately, Niemi allowed himself to be distracted by Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows, who jumped up in the air as Salo’s shot reached Niemi;  Salo’s second goal beat Niemi glove side and Burrows’ goal at 5:43 of the third period to make it 4-0 would’ve never happened if Niemi had kept his legs closed when coming out of his goalie crease to challenge Canucks forward Henrik Sedin, who passed the puck to Burrows through the legs of Niemi and Burrows tapped the puck into the open net for the goal.

Referees – Hockey fans know that if one team gets a few consecutive Power Play opportunities, such as the Sharks did today in the opening 22 minutes, the referees will eventually even out the calls over the course of the game.  However, what happened in the second period today was just outrageous as the Sharks were whistled for four consecutive minor penalties in a 2:44 span, leading to three 5-on-3 Power Play opportunities for the Canucks, all of which they scored on.  It all started at the 8:15 mark when Sharks forward Dany Heatley was called for “high sticking,” which was the correct call.  50 seconds later at the 9:05 mark, Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell was called for “hooking” on Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, which I don’t think would have been called had Sedin not been involved in the play, and led to Kesler’s goal on the Canucks first 5-on-3 Power Play opportunity just 11 seconds later at 9:16.  94 seconds later at 10:39, the Sharks were called for a SOFT “too many men” penalty {Couture was well within the “five-foot” bumper zone of the Sharks bench}, which led to Salo’s first goal of the game on the Canucks second 5-on-3 Power Play opportunity just 16 seconds later at 10:55.  Then, at 11:01, Murray was called for “delay of game” for shooting the puck over the glass, which there was no replay of, and 10 seconds later, Salo scored his second goal of the game on the Canucks third 5-on-3 Power Play advantage.  Even more head scratching is the fact that over the last five periods of the last two games, the Canucks have had five 5-on-3 Power Play advantages while the Sharks have had one.

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About Jon Allred

Life long San Jose and Worcester Sharks fan that bleeds teal and black.

Posted on May 22, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Just as an FYI, the five foot rule doesn’t apply in that situation. A player coming on to the ice can’t play the puck until the player he’s replacing is off the ice no matter how close he is to the bench. The five foot ruel only allows for a player to come off the bench while the person he is replacing is heading off the ice…if either plays the puck (or checks an opponent) with the other on the ice, it’s too many men.

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