Canucks swept out of NHL playoffs by Sharks, with likely sweeping changes to come
Overtime power-play goal kills Vancouver's season after questionable boarding penalty to Daniel Sedin
Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks scores the game-winning goal past goaltender Cory Schneider of the Vancouver Canucks in overtime in Game 4 of the NHL Western Conference quarter-final series at HP Pavilion on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 in San Jose, Calif. The Sharks won 4-3 to sweep the best-of-seven series four games to none.
Photograph by: Christian Petersen, Getty Images
SAN JOSE, Calif. — There’s no need to embellish how bad the Vancouver Canucks have been in the playoffs since reaching the Stanley Cup Final two years ago.
They have now lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games and for the second straight year have made an early first-round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
This time they were swept.
The San Jose Sharks beat the Canucks 4-3 in overtime Tuesday night at the HP Pavilion to take the series 4-0.
Patrick Marleau scored at 13:18 of overtime, tapping in a loose puck in the Vancouver crease, to give the Sharks the win.
A first-round sweep figures to lead to sweeping changes, both on and off the ice, for the Canucks.
The jobs of head coach Alain Vigneault and his staff are most certainly on the line and general manager Mike Gillis is going to face some uncomfortable questions from ownership over the team's second straight playoff collapse.
Marleau's series-winning goal came with Canucks winger Daniel Sedin in the penalty box serving what appeared to be a highly questionable boarding call by referee Kelly Sutherland.
Daniel's hit on San Jose winger Tommy Wingels appeared to be shoulder-to- shoulder, but knocked Wingels into the boards.
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin called it a "bull---- call."
"It's overtime, I think it's shoulder-on-shoulder," Henrik said. "But again it's referees, we have to keep working the referees like we do every year. We are going to get some calls in the future. We don't get any right now. We have to keep being nice to them, keep showing respect, keep doing the same things, we are going to get the benefit of the doubt sometimes."
"You see that (type of hit) every 30 seconds in the St. Louis-Los Angeles series and you don't see any of those calls," added defenceman Kevin Bieksa.
Sutherland, it should be noted, is the same referee who gave Alain Vigneault a bench minor in a game in Calgary on March 3 that the Vancouver coach was livid about.
"I saw it only once, but to see a call of boarding on Danny Sedin I have never seen that in eight years," winger Alex Burrows said. "You have to deal with, we should have killed it and we can't blame the refs. We only have ourselves to blame. But I thought it was unlucky for Danny."
The Canucks did play their best game of the series and looked like they were going to force a fifth game back in Vancouver on Thursday night when Burrows and Alex Edler scored goals two minutes apart midway through the third period to give Vancouver a 3-2 lead.
"We were desperate, we tried to make plays, we worked our butts off tonight," said Burrows, who was Vancouver's best player Tuesday night. "I thought everyone really competed and wanted it but we fell short. It's really disappointing.”
Joe Pavelski, with his second of the night and fourth of the series, tied the game at 15:33 of the third on a San Jose power play. The goal came with Bieksa off serving a cross-checking minor.
Goalie Cory Schneider did not look good on Pavelski's tying goal or Marleau's winner. He coughed up rebounds that led to both goals. On Marleau's goal, he stopped a Joe Thornton shot, but the puck was left laying in the crease.
"He cut to the middle there and got off a quick shot," Schneider said. "I felt it hit my stick. I thought I had steered it to the corner and I don't know what happened. It must have just dribbled by the net there."
The Sharks grabbed an early lead at 2:41 of the first when Scott Hannan's wrist shot from the left point was tipped in the deep slot by Brent Burns and past Schneider. Joe Thornton started the play by winning a puck battle in the corner and sliding a backhand pass back to Hannan.
But the Canucks got a bounce of their own five minutes later when a Mason Raymond floater from just inside the blue line appeared to hit San Jose defenceman Brad Stuart before trickling by goalie Antti Niemi.
Pavelski restored San Jose's lead at 14:52 on a Sharks power play at 14:52 of the first. With Derek Roy in the box serving a boarding minor, Pavelski jumped on a rebound in the slot, wheeled around and put a shot through traffic that beat Schneider stick side.
The Canucks’ penalty-kill had to do some nice work in what was a scoreless second period.
Defenceman Dan Hamhuis received a double-minor for a high stick on San Jose forward Tommy Wingels and Schneider made a couple of big saves off T.J. Galiardi and Brent Burns. The Canucks also got lucky when Thornton fanned on an attempted shot while staring at a wide-open net.
The Canucks’ PK also had to kill a slashing minor to Edler later in the period.
Daniel Sedin came oh so close to tying the game early in the third. A rebound went directly to him and with Niemi out of position and the whole net to shoot at, Daniel put his shot off the inside of the far post.
The Canucks once again started the game with new line combinations. Zack Kassian skated with the Sedins, while Burrows played with Ryan Kesler and Raymond. Roy centred Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, while Max Lapierre skated between Steve Pinizzotto and Dale Weise on the fourth line.
ICE CHIPS: The Canucks had played 15 rounds since last being swept 4-0 by the Colorado Avalanche in a first-round series in 2001 … Pinizzotto replaced Tom Sestito in the Vancouver lineup.
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