Canucks extend home-ice playoff losing streak in 3-1 series-opening setback to Sharks
San Jose scores two third-period goals to grab 1-0 first-round series lead as Vancouver drops fifth straight post-season game at Rogers Arena
Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (facemask up), teammates and coaches look dejected as they drop the first game of their NHL Western Conference quarter-final series by a 3-1 score to the visiting San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.
Photograph by: Mark van Manen, PNG
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks seem to have a case of home-ice disadvantage in the playoffs.
Wednesday night's 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series opener was the Canucks' fifth straight playoff loss on home ice.
That streak needs to end now if Vancouver is to survive this series and make any kind of post-season run.
"That doesn't matter," defenceman Kevin Bieksa said in a quiet Vancouver dressing room after the game. "It's one straight (loss) in the playoffs. We have one more chance next game to get a split on home ice. That's what we concentrate on. We're a good team on home ice and we are going to use that to our advantage in our next game.”
Game 2 of the series goes Friday night at Rogers Arena and the Canucks will be under immense pressure to gain a split before the series shifts to San Jose for Games 3 and 4.
Defenceman Dan Boyle scored the winner at 9:17 of the third period. His goal came after Joe Pavelski had lobbed a soft backhand shot at the Vancouver net. Goalie Roberto Luongo made the save, but Tommy Wingels dug the puck out of the crease and fed it to a pinching Boyle, who had a wide open net to shoot at.
"It was a close game," said Luongo, who was something of a surprise starter when Cory Schneider was unable to go. "They got a bit of a break there on the second goal. I got sandwiched between two guys in the crease and I couldn't get loose there.
"I'm not quite sure what happened when the puck squirted out, but they were able to bury it in the net. It's going to be that type of series where it's going to be tight-checking, physical games and we're going to have to find way to get bounces."
The game was an intense one, with lots of hitting and plenty of emotion. The Sharks had the better of the play most of the night, but the Canucks did out-hit San Jose 40-26 on the night.
Patrick Marleau scored an insurance goal at 14:37 of the third period to give the Sharks a two-goal cushion. Logan Couture found him in front of the net and Marleau shot's may have bounced off the skate of Vancouver defenceman Dan Hamhuis before sliding past Luongo.
"We weren't that far off but I think everything has to be five times better: puck movement, execution, battle level and bearing down when we get the chances," said captain Henrik Sedin. "It's going to be a tight series. We didn't give up a whole lot of chances."
Bieksa got credit for the goal that gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 12:26 of the second period. Bieksa’s point shot was stopped, but the rebound led to a wild scramble in front of San Jose goalie Antti Niemi. It appeared San Jose winger Raffi Torres put the puck into his own net. Jannik Hansen was initially credited with the goal.
"It's playoffs and it's going to get dirty," Hansen said in an interview between periods. "You have to get in there of you want to score goals."
The Vancouver lead lasted just four minutes. Shortly after Vancouver winger Zack Kassian took a careless roughing minor on Couture, the Sharks centre took a feed from Boyle and snapped a wrist shot from the slot past Luongo.
Luongo said before the game that he hoped he'd get some early action to get himself into the game. He got his wish. The Sharks were all over the Canucks for much of what was a scoreless first period.
They outshot Vancouver 15-9 and Luongo made a number of huge saves, none bigger than when he slid across his crease and got his right pad on a Martin Havlat shot off a rebound on an early San Jose power play.
"I felt pretty good in the first, it gave me a good rhythm for the rest of the game," Luongo said. "But when you are on the losing end you always want to find a way to do more."
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault knows his team has to find a way to generate more offence in Game 2.
"They didn't generate a lot in the third, but they capitalized on one puck that we were trying to find in front of our net and the other one just went past Dan Hamhuis's stick and sort of dribbled on there," Vigneault said.
"It's not like we got shelled in the third. That being said, the only goal we scored, they pushed in their net so we have to find a way to be better and that's what we're going to work on here in the next 24 hours.”
ICE CHIPS: The Sharks lost Havlat to an undisclosed injury in the first period … Steve Pinizzotto, Tom Sestito, Cam Barker, Keith Ballard and Derek Joslin were Vancouver’s healthy scratches … The Canucks announced their 423rd straight sellout Wednesday night.
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