The team from San Jose had made much of how they were going to hit and use their size to run down the Canucks in Game 2. That it was just something they had not done. Tonight showed they still have some growing to do, both on and off the ice.
The game started out with the Sharks doing exactly what they said they would, trying to get big hits on defensemen. They won a bunch of face offs tonight as well, so they have to be happy about that!
The Sharks even got the first goal again, when Aaron Rome took a penalty for a soft trip on Pavelski. The referees had a tough game to keep in control though…more on that later.
After the penalty kill looked like they had it well in hand, Logan Couture hung back a bit, and got a nice pass. He beat Luongo cleanly, and suddenly the Sharks had an early lead.
It did not seem to really have any real effect on the Canuck players. They just kept coming. The Sharks did too though , and Ben Eager almost made it 2-0 when he got a clear shot, but hit the post. Mr Eager’s full rich night was just starting. He got into a tussle with Raffi Torres, and with both off for roughing, the open space gave the Twins the chance to get their cycle game going.
The officials saw the same type of trip that Pavelski had done to him returned in kind to Daniel Sedin. It gave the Canucks their power play, and the first of a big night for the Twins happened like this.
There was another great night turned in by the Canucks third line, and it resulted in a pretty goal for Raffi Torres. Check out the jump up by Ehrhoff to make the goal happen.
Like I said, the referees had a tough night. Their first tough call was when Daniel Sedin was given a crosscheck penalty for barely touching Heatley, who went down like he was indeed, to quote lead complainer Dan Boyle “shot”. Its a tough one for the refs to see in the corner, but it simply was not a penalty. So, maybe all the whining we heard from the California team helped make that call. Regardless, it added another goal to the Luongo haters arsenal. I do not think he had much of a chance on it, and it was a lucky goal, but I guess that means I just made an excuse for the big Montreal native. Damn homers!
The back and forth was great entertainment, even with nice plays getting broken up by sticks in lanes, hits, and whatnot. There would be no more scoring, but the big question of whether the visitors were getting in on the defenders, and how the Sharks would handle the turnovers in the neutral zone were not ready to be answered. Henrik did catch a break when his accidental high stick to Joe Thornton’s face. Not to say he deserved it or anything, but he was hacking and slashing Kesler all game long without a call. So, maybe they decided fair is fair!
The answer started coming clearer in the second though. The Canucks came out more determined and fast. Their obvious advantage in speed had the Shark defenders turning to chase the puck a lot. Niemi was making saves when it counted, and Luongo as well was making important stops.
The Canucks were the aggressors on the ice though, and pushed the play a lot. It finally came together with probably the prettiest goal of the night. Watch how Higgins hangs on the boards, drops back and makes this gorgeous pass to send Bieksa in alone.
The Sharks were still trying to be big, bad , and tough, but Patrick Marleau picked the wrong guy to dance with when he challenged Bieksa to a fight shortly afterwards. The defenseman gladly obliged, and basically beat him up. For some reason, this enraged guys like Clowe and Eager, who evidently thought that Marleau cannot fight his own battles, or were upset he got beat up. Whatever.
It was in the last thirty seconds that Eager made his negative mark on the game, again. Daniel Sedin missed a pass on the boards, turned for the puck, and was run from behind by Eager. Amazingly, he was only given a minor penalty instead of a major. He should be suspended, but who knows these days! Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman were in attendance. You would think a Hart nominee should get more protection from such an obvious goon. The Sharks were able to defend the rest of the period, but the Canucks would start the third, after dominating the second, on the power play.
They were unable to cash that one in, but the Canucks were, by far, the better team in this period as well. But it seemed a matter of time. Once again it was Ben Eager with a lack of discipline. This time, he made an obvious slewfoot on Raymond, and was caught.
The first power play unit did not get this one, but the second did. Check out how they moved it around on this goal by Chris Higgins.
It was obvious that the Canucks were too much on this night for the San Jose team. They made a nice breakout that looked to spring Thornton on a break, but the referees rightly caught the fact that it was because they had too many men on, with Joe jumping early. The easiest call for the referees tonight. Once again, it was time for the power play. Check out how they did here…
You would think that was it. But no. The killer instinct the home team gets berated for on occasion came out on more pressure, this time with Aaron Rome getting the benefit of some hard work by the Sedins to make it 6-2.
The Sharks were obviously embarrassed, and Clowe tried to start a fight, and got himself a misconduct and a minor for his troubles. This time it was Mason Raymond, and it was scored 2 seconds after the penalty was killed. But it was 7-2, and a rout.
To give you an idea of what kind of night it was, check out the last goal of the night. Ben Eager runs the goalie, and maybe they call that if its a close game. They let it stand to make it 7-3, and Eager has not the intelligence to just skate away and takes a penalty for taunting! What a guy huh?
The last minutes were taken up by some more posturing, and Eager , I think, added to his total getting involved with Rome and Lapierre in the last 30 seconds.
But if that is the best the Sharks have, this will be a short series. Though, they might just complain that it was someone else’s fault instead of shaking hands. In post gamers, Eager and Clowe were throwing the insults, while it was Marleau being cool and admitting he wanted to fight to put cold water on the Eager and Clowe whining. Their youngest player Couture was the classiest in interviews, talking about being embarrassed by the effort.
Nice to know at least one of them saw what I saw!
See you Friday.