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Western Conference Quarterfinals
#6 San Jose Sharks (25-16-7) at #3 Vancouver Canucks (26-15-7)
Game 2 at 7pm (PST) Friday May 3 in Vancouver at Rogers Arena
Sharks lead series 1-0
Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on CSNCA-HD / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network (all games listed PST)
Wed., May 1 GAME 1 @ Vancouver 7:30 PM Sharks WIN 3-1
Fri., May 3 GAME 2 @ Vancouver 7 PM
Sun., May 5 GAME 3 @ San Jose 7 PM
Tue., May 7 GAME 4 @ San Jose 7 PM
*Thur., May 9 GAME 5 @ Vancouver TBD
*Sat., May 11 GAME 6 @ San Jose TBD
*Mon., May 13 GAME 7 @ Vancouver TBD
Luongo back in net for Game 2
”We want to be a bit more solid on our fore-check and break the puck out cleaner, whether that exchange is with myself and a D-man or D-man with forwards,” said Roberto Luongo. “Communication is key, especially in situations like that and we just need to sharpen up in general, have that little extra edge and we’re good to go.”
Previous Playoff Series/Action vs. the Canucks:
2011 Western Conference Final – the #1 seed Vancouver Canucks defeated the #2 seed San Jose Sharks 4-1. (Dan Boyle had the GWG in Game 3 in the Sharks only win of the series)
Game 1 Recap and Video: Click HERE.
Sharks vs. Canucks: Matchups to Look For:
Let’s break it down through Game 1:
Goaltending: - advantage SHARKS
San Jose – Antti Niemi was AWESOME for the Sharks making 29 saves in Game 1 in his 42nd victory in his career in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Niemi was best when the Sharks needed him the most, making several key saves including 14 stops in the 2nd period when the game was tied at 1-1. Niemi was again a calming influence for the Sharks in the victory.
Vancouver – With the all the pressure Roberto Luongo had going into Game 1, he played very well for Vancouver in the 3-1 loss making 25 saves and being voted the game’s #2 star. Look for Luongo to have a big game in Game 2 knowing that he needs to stand tall to even the series.
Special Teams: - advantage SHARKS
San Jose – The Sharks power play got them going offensively in Game 1 with a great effort by Logan Couture to tie the game at 1-1 in the 2nd period. For the most part, the Sharks were able to get some good looks from their point men on the power play and able to set up screens in front of the Vancouver net. The Sharks played a very disciplined Game 1 and were a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Vancouver – The Canucks only had two chances on the power play in Game 1 and were unable to convert. The Canucks were only able to get three shots on goal on the two power plays, thanks in large part of the terrific job that Brad Stuart and crew did on the penalty kill.
“Secondary Scoring”: advantage SHARKS
San Jose – Although the Sharks did not receive any “secondary scoring” in Game 1 they did receive a solid effort from all 12 forwards and six defensemen. Raffi Torres (6 hits) and Tommy Wingels (5 hits) led the hit parade for the Sharks and generated energy for the rest of their teammates with a heavy fore-check.
Vancouver – The Sedin twins only had four combined shots on goal in Game 1… which is not a good sign for the Canucks but great news for the Sharks! Alexander Edler and Jason Garrison combined for eight shots from the blue line to lead the way for the Canucks as San Jose was able to keep the majority of the shots coming from the perimeter.
Shark Bites: (interesting tidbits heading into Game 2)
*Game 1 Winner… the Sharks have a 15-14 record all time in Game 1’s of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 9-7 record on the road during Game 1 after their 3-1 win on Wednesday in Vancouver. In the previous 14 Game 1 Wins… the Sharks went on to win 9 of the 14 previous series (64.2%)
*Game 2... San Jose is 11-17 all-time in Game 2’s but just 4-11 on the road… the Sharks have won just once in their last five Game 2s.
*1995... Ulf Dahlen scored at 12:21 of overtime to give the Sharks a 5-4 overtime win at Calgary to put the Sharks ahead 2-0 in their WQF series on May 9, 1995. That was the last time the Sharks had a 2-0 series lead on the road in the playoffs.
*Lucky 13… with his goal in Game 1, Logan Couture already has 13 playoff goals for the Sharks… good for 10th all time in team history.
*Welcome to the playoffs… defenseman Frank Corrado made his Stanley Cup playoffs debut vs. the Sharks in Game 1. The 20-year-old defenseman was -1 in 12:29 of ice time.
*Make the most of it… Andrew Ebbett played just 5:33 for the Canucks in Game 1. The 30-year-old winger has three points (1-2-3) in 18 career playoff games with the Ducks, Coyotes, and Canucks,
*A perfect 10… defenseman Kevin Bieska scored his 10th career playoff goal in Game 1 for the Canucks. Bieska has 25 points (10-15-25) in 62 career playoff games (all with the Canucks).
What they are saying…
''I need more from the whole team,'' Coach Vigneault said after a short practice Thursday. ''There's no doubt there. All our players understand we have to get better and we're going to get better.''
''You've got to think they're going to come out (thinking) do-or-die next game,'' Joe Thornton said. ''I expect their best effort - and I expect our best, too.''
Both teams have a lot on the line in Game 2. The Sharks are expecting the Canucks to play with desperation in Game 2… and San Jose has the recent memory of losing Game 2 last year in St. Louis before dropping the series 4-1. The Canucks do have the pressure on them in Game 2 – with the added stress of playing in Vancouver and in fear of getting swept on home ice for the 2nd straight season (the Kings won both games in Vancouver in the 1st round last year). Expect the Canucks to turn it up two notches with physical play early to set the tone. Game 2 could be the BIGGEST game of the series as the Sharks hope to come home on Sunday with a 2-0 series edge!
SHARKS at CANUCKS
(San Jose leads best-of-7 series, 1-0)
TV: CNBC; TSN, RDS; CSN-CA
Big story: It was déjà vu for the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night, when a 3-1 Game 1 loss to the San Jose Sharks unfolded in an eerily similar fashion to last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs opener against the Los Angeles Kings.
Vancouver failing to take advantage of Roberto Luongo's great early saves, generating little offensively, and struggling on special teams were all themes last year too - and that series ended in five games. If the Canucks don't come up answers in Game 2 at home, where they have lost five straight playoff games, it may be over even faster as San Jose only lost two games in regulation at home during the regular season.
Sharks: The only question to emerge from San Jose's Game 1 win was whether second-line wing Martin Havlat would be healthy enough to play Game 2. Havlat left with nine minutes left in the first period and replays showed him taking a stick in the groin from Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa on his final shift.
Coach Todd McLellan didn't have - or at least wouldn't share - that answer after a heavily optional practice, but the fact Havlat, who also missed the final game of the regular season, wasn't on the ice Thursday doesn't bode well.
McLellan mixed up his lines after Havlat left, finally settling on former Canucks forward Raffi Torres late in the game. Spare forward Tim Kennedy, who had two goals in 13 games this season, may take Havlat's spot in the lineup.
Other than that, the Sharks won't want to change much from a game that saw them force turnovers with an aggressive forecheck, keep the Canucks away from goalie Antti Niemi's crease and dominate faceoffs and special teams.
"We got one game, now we want two," said Logan Couture, who scored San Jose's first goal and set up Patrick Marleau's insurance tally with 5:23 left. "It's a good start, but that's it. We know they are going to be better though so we have to be prepared for that."
Canucks: Vancouver shook up its forward lines in practice after failing to put a puck past Niemi in the opener - Torres knocked their only goal past his own goalie - and loaded up their second line. Centers Ryan Kesler, who was fighting the flu in Game 1, and Derek Roy will play together on a line with Chris Higgins. That trio played together late in the season and created a lot of offense, something the Canucks badly need after generating little in the series opener. But it leaves the bottom-six forwards short of a proven center against a Sharks team that rolls out Joe Thornton, Couture and Joe Pavelski as its top-three centers, giving San Jose more of a balanced attack. The Canucks will need more from Kesler, Roy and the top line duo of Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
"I need more from my whole team," coach Alain Vigneault said, refusing to single out his top forwards after Game 1. "There's no doubt there that all our players understand that we have to get better and we're going to get better."
That means doing more to get in front of and disrupt Niemi.
"We were shooting but had no one there," Daniel Sedin said. "Niemi saw pretty much everything. Any goalie in the league is going to stop those pucks."
Who's hot: There aren't any hot streaks on a Canucks team struggling to score again in the playoffs, but Couture has picked up where he left off in the regular season for the Sharks. Couture had four goals and three assists in five games coming into the playoffs, and added a goal and an assist in Game 1.