The San Jose Sharks are in a 2-0 series hole heading back home to hopefully get something going. Unfortunately, they have zero momentum after a demoralizing 7-3 loss in game two at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks. Through one period, it was an extremely matched game, and though the Canucks took the lead in period two, it was still pretty even going into the third period. But that's where things broke down.
San Jose stopped skating after pucks and started playing slowly once again. The Canucks took advantage, and got goals out of basically everybody tonight. You might think that Antti Niemi had a bad game, but he actually played well up until the team around him gave up. It was clear that the Sharks gave up after a Chris Higgins power play goal to start the third period, and it showed as Vancouver lit the lamp three more times in the period.
Ben Eager went to the penalty box for the Sharks on five separate occasions, and none of them were good penalties to take. Expect more on Eager's antics after this recap is posted, but suffice to say he didn't make up for anything by scoring late in the third, considering the way he celebrated obnoxiously and got in the face of Roberto Luongo. It will be interesting to see how much he plays in game three, if at all.
These are two teams that squandered 3-0 series leads in these playoffs and two teams that we all knew were evenly matched. This is a game that got away from the Sharks, which is surprising, but a 2-0 series lead after two home games is not surprising for the Canucks. It's not time to hit the panic button, one just has to hope that the Sharks do not continue this level of play.
Instead of recounting the thirty or forty Canucks goals in this game and the myriad of penalties for the
Sharks Ben Eager, here are the notes as I took them during the game, with a more direct recap coming later on.
San Jose starts the dump-and-chase early, but they are actually chasing this time, unlike in game one. Less than two minutes in, the Sharks get a power play when Aaron Rome went to the box for tripping Joe Pavelski. After the first minute is killed, Logan Couture takes a feed from Dany Heatley right in front of the net, and makes a beautiful move to push the puck in past Roberto Luongo. Devin Setoguchi takes a high stick that isn't called, and he is hurt, but looks as though he'll return. The Sharks almost get another goal about four minutes in and some Sharks players celebrate, but the referee waves it off as it goes off the post. That was Ben Eager that almost put it in net. Raffi Torres and Ben Eager take roughing penalties at 5:40 and we've got a 4-on-4. Not much happens, though. The Canucks put on better pressure, and after we get to even strength, Joe Pavelski goes to the box for tripping. San Jose starts it off with a good clear, and then another, but with twenty seconds remaining, the Canucks have set up extended pressure in San Jose's zone. Henrik and Daniel Sedin combined to beat Antti Niemi, simple as that. It was a great feed, and Niemi had a chance to stop it, but it was too good of a set up and the game is tied with ten minutes to go in the first. Then Raffi Torres taps one in the net right in front of it after some blown coverage by the Sharks. Daniel Sedin is called for cross checking Dany Heatley, and the Sharks attack on their power play immediately. Patrick Marleau taps the puck in the net right in front of it when Joe Thornton put it in front from the side. The referees take an otherworldly amount of time to decide that it's good, though it really only takes one glance to see it. The teams exchange extended time on the forecheck in the following minutes, but nobody has any solid chances until the final two and a half minutes, both teams exchange chances, while Niemi and Luongo are forced to make great saves. Luongo goes flat on his stomach but still happens to get his glove in front of a puck somehow. As the period comes to an end, the official misses a high stick that drew blood on Joe Thornton right in front of him.
Pretty uneventful first three minutes, the Sharks getting more time in Vancouver's zone, but neither team gets any effective scoring opportunities. The first four minutes pass, Ian White goes down with an injury. The play is very balanced, Niemi has to make a couple good saves and the Sharks don't get a shot on goal for some time. It's a slower pace this period. Vancouver's time in San Jose's zone appears to be a lot more threatening than the time San Jose is spending in Vancouver's. As I type that, the Canucks take the puck across ice and Kevin Bieksa gets a goal on Antti Niemi to put the Canucks up 3-2. The Sharks just look complacent again. Play continues at a slow pace, the Sharks get a couple more chances to their credit, but Niemi is forced to make two great saves before the final two minutes are reached. For some reason, Patrick Marleau drops the gloves against Kevin Bieksa and both go off for fighting. Then, Ben Eager comes on the ice and gets penalized for hitting Daniel Sedin, he goes for boarding. 28 seconds of the power play is killed and then the period comes to an end.
The Sharks kill the remainder of the penalty with good clears. The Canucks are challenging the Sharks, like they did in game one. They've got the lead, and they're still fighting and attacking, and the Sharks are not getting the scoring opportunities they need. Eager goes to the penalty box for the second time, this one for tripping, though it's a soft call. The power play comes through, and Chris Higgins beats Niemi, who is perfectly screened. The Canucks have a 4-2 lead and the Sharks are on their heels. The Sharks have a good opportunity but are called for too-many-men on the ice and the Canucks are on a power play. They utilize good passing and get the goal no problem, the Sharks offer no resistance at that point. Daniel Sedin sinks it in to give the Canucks a 5-2 lead. The Sharks have given up on this game, as they don't even get time in Vancouver's zone, the Canucks come back and score again, this time it's Aaron Rome. The Sedins have taken the game over. Ryane Clowe goes to the box for roughing and the Canucks get yet another power play. With only a couple seconds remaining, they set up a good pass and beat Niemi again. 7-2 Canucks. It looks like Ben Eager scores and then