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Canucks embarrass Sharks 7-3 to take 2-0 series lead

May 19, 2011, 1:04 AM EDT

San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two Getty Images

The game may have started out evenly between Vancouver and San Jose in Game 2, but it ended with the Sharks getting outworked again and ending up in a 2-0 hole in the series. It was an all-around dominating effort from the Vancouver Canucks in Game 2 that saw them beat San Jose 7-3.

Once again the game would start out evenly as the teams traded goals in the first period, one that would wind up with the game being tied at 2-2 after the first. Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau would score for San Jose to begin and end the period, but between those tallies, Vancouver would get goals from Daniel Sedin and Raffi Torres. For Sedin, it would be the first of two goals on the night.

In Game 1 of this series, San Jose wore down in the third period but tonight, the slow legs came out halfway into the second period and it would be Kevin Bieksa who got the Canucks ahead scoring a beautiful breakaway goal.

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Bieksa wouldn’t see his night go quietly the rest of the way as late in the second period and the Sharks obviously starting to sag a bit in their efforts, Patrick Marleau would grab Bieksa and drop the gloves in a rare display of pugilism by Marleau and a fight Bieksa would happily accept. Bieksa would finish up the night with a Gordie Howe hat trick after his goal, fight, and assist on Chris Higgins’ power play goal in the third.

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Just moments after that fight would end, however, Sharks physical forward Ben Eager would make his first negative contribution of the game when he would smoke Daniel Sedin from behind on a hit he was fortunate to only get a two-minute minor for boarding on. While Sedin wasn’t hurt on the play the officials didn’t toss Eager from the game for the terrible hit. As the game went on to the third period, the Sharks might’ve wished they had.

In the third, Vancouver would rattle off four straight goals including two power play goals, one thanks to another Eager penalty for tripping Mason Raymond as Eager kicked Raymond’s feet out from under him from behind. Vancouver finished the game going 3-7 on the power play and after their four goal third period binge held a 7-2 lead highlighted by the Canucks’ work cycling the puck leading to a goal from defenseman Aaron Rome.

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Eager’s night wasn’t totally over though as the hulking forward would manage to score a late goal off a nice feed from Joe Pavelski. What Eager did after the goal, however, proved to be yet another reason why he’s more trouble than he’s worth to have in the Sharks lineup as he celebrated with arms raised in the air as if a champion of the world as his goal made it 7-3 with 2:33 left to play in the game.

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Tallying up Eager’s night: one goal, five minor penalties, one ten-minute misconduct, 20 penalty minutes, and one major detriment to his own team. Even Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (28 saves) told Versus’ Darren Pang after the game that in spite of Eager running him over to score late, he’s OK with him being out there because it means he’ll take penalties.

For San Jose the penalties were a major problem. You can’t give up power play chances to the Canucks all game long especially when you end up looking lost in your defensive end of the ice while the Sedins are working their puck magic all through the zone. Eager was bad with his antics, but for the whole of the game San Jose just didn’t compete the right way. What started off hopeful in the first period turned in the second and wound up ultimately being a beat down in the third. The Sharks have a lot of things to get figured out when they head home for Game 3 on Friday night.

Vancouver, on the other hand, looked like a team destined to make the Stanley Cup finals save for one glaring exception: Their penalty kill. San Jose converted on both of their power play opportunities in the first period and it gave them the openings they needed to put fear into Vancouver. The Canucks will have to tighten that part of their game up. To their credit, they didn’t take any penalties tonight while the Sharks went out of their way to try and goad them into further nonsense. As the game got further out of hand, San Jose kept trying and the Canucks kept refusing – a smart, savvy move by Vancouver to not give them the satisfaction.

It’s not over for San Jose by any means, but their list of things to get fixed in Game 3 at home grew a lot longer tonight. The Sedins have too much room to work, the Sharks defense isn’t nearly physical enough to keep them nervous, and the Sharks aren’t getting top performances from most anyone. Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, and Patrick Marleau were the only ever-present guys tonight and with the amount of talent there they need the others to play better and quickly.

Dave Strader and Brian Engblom from Versus recap Game 2:

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Here are all the highlights from tonight’s action:

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  1. sharksfan754 - May 19, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    Sharks fan here (disclaimer). How can the refs miss two obvious double minor high sticking penalties against setoguchi and thornton is both horrible and yet believable. It feels like our calls get a blind eye ( I know every fan feels that way for their team). On a side note, I hope ben eager never wears a sharks sweater again! He played like an absolute thug out there costing us huge in the process. That is not our brand of hockey. That’s matt Cooke bs. I will not accept nor defend that crap for a second. Put in jamal10!

    • vernonbc - May 19, 2011 at 7:44 AM

      You sound pretty reasonable sharksfan but sorry, I don’t have much sympathy for you about missed calls. Daniel Sedin was bleeding from the nose after Eager crashed him into the boards from behind and all Eager got was 2 minutes. Thornton was slashing Kesler all night long. The refs were letting both teams get away with a lot and yet they called a phantom penalty against Danny that resulted in a Sharks goal. I guess the refs can’t win for losing as no one’s going to be happy with them. I’m glad to hear that you thought Eager was a buffoon out there. What bothered me was that McLellan played him more than some of his first liners so what does that say about the coach. Guess he liked the way Eager played and wanted to see more thuggery. Not impressed at all.

      • sharksfan754 - May 19, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        Yea (correct me if I’m wrong) I believe the “penalty” on Sedin happened after the two missed high sticking penalties because that had makeup written all over it. 100% agree with you on eagers boarding, I was crossing my fingers on that call that it wouldn’t be 5 and a game.

  2. sjawesome - May 19, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    Last time I checked this is America, and the sharks will not back down against Canada. The SF bay area loves its hockey

    • govtminion - May 19, 2011 at 9:33 AM

      …So you’re saying that the only time the Sharks should collapse in the playoffs is against American teams, like usual? I’m not sure why playing a Canadian team should be any different from any other.

    • polegojim - May 19, 2011 at 11:32 AM

      @sj…awful – Last time I checked, America isn’t playing Canada. This is the NHL, where Americans, Canadians, Russians, Swedes, Slovaks, Fins, etc play TOGETHER on teams.

      Sharks are 62% CANADIAN… guess you need to send Clowe, Coutier, Marleau, Thornton, and Boyle back up north eh? May as well send Niemi away too, he’s Finish.
      Canucks are 58% Canadian.

      Back down? How about OUTPLAY the Canucks, SCORE MORE GOALS, and WIN?
      Forget the ‘back down’ crap. This isn’t a schoolyard fight. It’s Hockey. WIN.

      Get a better understanding of hockey, then love it. Few expansion cities actually get it.

      Go Red Wings…reloading!

      • sjawesome - May 19, 2011 at 3:47 PM

        @ridingthepolejim first off jokes are funny, so you should quit freaking out. Second your comment is “not following tradition at all”. Third Enough said

      • polegojim - May 19, 2011 at 5:39 PM

        True – I love my jokes! I am a funny man, period.

        I’m not freaking out – just totally disagreeing with your comment with passion. NHL is a wonderful melting pot unseen in most other sports to the same degree.

        I don’t follow your comment – it’s NOT traditional to say America is against Canada in the NHL. Those are called the ‘Olympics’.

        San Jose should show up and SKATE to a win. That I AM FREAKING OUT ABOUT! McLellan is a better coach than the Sharks are showing.

        Stop all the tough guy acting. All that will get you are…PENTALTIES! But OK, congrats on that one – the Sharks did an EXCELLENT job winning the penalty battle in game two…

        Pssst – here’s a secret – you won’t win a Stanley Cup that way…yet again.

  3. Truckmounts - May 19, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Sad display of sportsmanship. And for those crying about missed calls… in EVERY SINGLE HOCKEY GAME ON EARTH there are missed calls – both ways. Last game you cried about embellishment, tonight you cry about the missed calls.

    Here’s an idea for you and your team: MAN UP AND QUIT WHINING LIKE A BUNCH OF GIRLS. It’s getting sad really quick.

  4. sharksfan754 - May 19, 2011 at 5:14 AM

    Just saying the blood didn’t appear outta mid air TOOLmounts. Plus if you read everything I said I pointed out how everyone feels that way and dissed eager (a shark).

  5. jpelle82 - May 19, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    talk about a backfire. marleau mustve figured he since he hasnt contributed in the scoring column all playoffs he should try to fight? what a dumbass. he got owned and the sharks fell apart…again. kudos to the canucks for keeping their head in the game and not pandering to eager’s childish behavior

    • govtminion - May 19, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      See, I disagree. It looked to me like Marleau was hoping to fire his team up, and since he can’t seem to find a scoring touch (not that he’s alone in that regard- paging Mr. Heatley), he tried another way. Not one he seems to be very good at, but then again he doesn’t get much practice at it either. For the record, Kevin Bieksa isn’t someone I’d want to fight in the first place, but neither here nor there.

      Marleau got his ass kicked. And deserved it. But his attempt to get his team back into things by showing that he was willing to go out and get in the fight in the first place (if I’ll go this far, why aren’t YOU?) was a good one. It’s just too bad that the only person who seemed to take note was Ben Eager- and not in a helpful way. Momentum gained, and immediately lost thanks to Eager- which means Marleau, despite meaning well, did indeed get his ass kicked for basically no reason.

      Long winded, I know, but basically I do agree with Marleau’s decision. It just didn’t work out.

      • abrienza428 - May 19, 2011 at 11:34 AM

        Agree with most of what you say here, but Marleau has scored in 3 straight games, so he has found a scoring touch as of late. Canucks are just plain better so far, that’s all.

    • eddieapoc - May 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      It seems to me that fighting on the road is always a mistake. Unless you completely dominate the fight. The crowd gets fired up and ends up working against your team.

  6. polegojim - May 19, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    This Sharks team displays a lack of Championship poise and character. The continued playoff melt downs are exacting their toll. Instead of picking up their play when times get tough, the Sharks get dirty. Not even tough, just dirty.

    Embarrassing loss, complete emotional collapse, cheap shots. Marleau fighting? Boarding Sedin? Those guys are now going to knock out Shark teeth in bunches.

    After working so long in the Red Wing organization, Todd cannot be proud of this. He deserves better.

    The Canucks on the other hand, showed new signs of a Cup Winner.

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