Canucks cough up another third-period lead, fall 4-1 to Sharks

 

 
 
 
 
San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl, left, of the Czech Republic, tips the puck past Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Ryan Miller for a goal during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
 
 

San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl, left, of the Czech Republic, tips the puck past Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Ryan Miller for a goal during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.

Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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The Vancouver Canucks are playoff pretenders, not contenders, in large part because of their inability to protect third-period leads.

They coughed up another one Sunday as they again failed to extend a two-game National Hockey League winning streak to three, falling 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks had a 1-0 lead after two periods and seemed to be in control of the game. Then the dreaded third period came along and they collapsed. We have, of course, seen this movie before.

“We were a bit passive,” said defenceman Luca Sbisa. “The first goal goes in and I’ll take that one on me, but after that I think they responded better. A game like this we have to come out harder, make a push, and they just kept coming. In the end we tried all we had, but it’s not good enough.”

The Canucks lost for the 10th time this season when leading after two periods.

“We played decent for two periods, but like a lot of times this season you play good the first and the second and then in the third it’s kind of like a different team goes out there on the ice,” Sbisa said. “Times like this, every game for us is like a Game 7, it’s a must-win if you want to stay in the race ... so it’s a disappointing feeling.”

The Canucks could have made things interesting, as a win on Sunday would have pulled them to within six points of the Colorado Avalanche in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with three games in hand.

It will now take a monumental winning streak to climb back into the race and the Canucks, of course, have shown no signs they are capable of that.

They and the Winnipeg Jets are the only NHL teams that have not been able to string together three straight wins all season.

“It seems like every other team that is right there with you, they are putting together streaks of four, five or six in a row and that is what you’ve got to do,” Sbisa said. “We had a chance to do that and we didn’t. You have to look (at) yourself in the mirror.”

San Jose scored two goals early in the third to erase a 1-0 Vancouver lead.

Tomas Hertl scored the winner at 6:49 of third, tipping a Justin Braun point shot past Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller.

Joe Pavelski had tied the game two minutes earlier after Sbisa turned the puck over in his own end. Pavelski beat Miller with a backhand from the edge of the crease for his 27th of the season.

Patrick Marleau made it 3-1 on a 5-on-3 San Jose power play at 14:09 of the third and Braun added an empty-netter at 18:40.

“There were some miscues in the third, they got that 5-on-3, and the game was over,” said Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin.

The Canucks seemed to be in good shape after two periods. Daniel Sedin had given them the lead early in the second, when Vancouver outshot the Sharks 9-4.

“We played an extremely good second period,” Henrik said. “Apart from their power plays I don’t think we gave them much. It was our best effort defensively by far. But then we made some mistakes in the third, they get a 5-on-3 for a minute-and-a-half and the game is over.”

Miller, who lost for only the fourth time in 13 starts against the Sharks, was at a loss to explain the Canucks third-period struggles.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t thought about it, I have tried to move forward ... we have had meetings about structure and stuff and emotion is part of the game. You have to keep composure and the positive energy. I thought the first two periods, we had good jump and it was the kind of game we needed to play against these guys. For whatever reason, for a short stretch in the third period, it got away from us.”

The Canucks are now 14-3-7 when leading after two periods this season. Those lost points are a big part of the reason the Canucks are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

“I thought we played quite well through the first two periods and played well enough to get ourselves a win through two,” said defenceman Dan Hamhuis, who may have played his final game as a Canuck.

“They picked up their level in the third and we didn’t respond the way we needed to.”

bziemer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

GAME ESSENTIALS

THE SKINNY

Daniel Sedin’s goal early in the second period gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead through 40 minutes, but once again Vancouver could not hold onto a third-period lead. The Sharks scored four unanswered goals in the third to snap a two-game Canucks winning streak. Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks, followed by Tomas Hertl, Patrick Marleau and Justin Braun, into an empty net. The Canucks have been unable to string together three straight wins all season.

BY THE NUMBERS

Daniel Sedin had a team-high six shots for the Canucks, who were outshot 28-24 … Vancouver once again lost the faceoff battle. The Canucks went 24-31 in the circle. Henrik Sedin won only eight of 21 draws. Bo Horvat went 11-8. Joe Pavelski was 9-2 for the Sharks … Defenceman Dan Hamhuis logged a team-high 23:02 of ice time for Vancouver. Defenceman Brent Burns had a game-high 26:02 for San Jose.

QUOTABLE

“I didn’t think we really collapsed. I thought we played a decent game. We certainly took ourselves out of it when that third goal went in. We were in a tough spot … I don’t want to blame it on being young. That would be easy to say. If you have a lead, teams are hungry and coming at you, and it seems like we’re just not quite able to hold it.” — head coach Willie Desjardins on his team’s third-period struggles.

THIS AND THAT

Former Canucks defencemen Ed Jovanovski and Sami Salo took part in a ceremonial faceoff before the game … Radim Vrbata, Matt Bartkowski and Jared McCann were Vancouver’s scratches. Bartkowski was a late scratch with the flu … San Jose goalie Martin Jones won his first regular-season start in Vancouver. His father, Harvey Jones, is vice-president of construction with the Canucks ... Joe Pavelski had a game-high seven shots and scored his 27th goal of the season.

WHO’S NEXT?

The Canucks will practise Monday — trade deadline day — in preparation for Tuesday night’s home game against the New York Islanders. Vancouver beat the Islanders 2-1 in a shootout in Brooklyn on Jan. 17. Goalie Ryan Miller was brilliant, stopping 47 of 48 shots. Defenceman Ben Hutton, pictured, scored Vancouver’s goal in that game and Radim Vrbata scored the only goal in the shootout. The game will be the fifth stop of a seven-game road trip for the Islanders.

 
 
 
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San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl, left, of the Czech Republic, tips the puck past Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Ryan Miller for a goal during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
 

San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl, left, of the Czech Republic, tips the puck past Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Ryan Miller for a goal during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.

Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl, left, of the Czech Republic, tips the puck past Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Ryan Miller for a goal during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Adam Cracknell (24), San Jose Sharks’ Matt Nieto (83) and Joonas Donskoi (27), of Finland, battle for the puck as Sharks’ Logan Couture, left, watches during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Jannik Hansen, of Denmark, skates with the puck during the during first period NHL hockey action against the San Jose Sharks, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Ryan Miller looks on after allowing a goal to San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl, of the Czech Republic, during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton, back from left to right, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl, of the Czech Republic, celebrate Hertl’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Chris Tanev, right, dives to swat the puck away from San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Yannick Weber, left, of Switzerland, and San Jose Sharks’ Melker Karlsson, of Sweden, collide during second period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen, top left, and Daniel Sedin, right, of Sweden, celebrate Sedin’s goal as San Jose Sharks’ Paul Martin, centre, and Justin Braun (61) look on during second period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
San Jose Sharks’ Joe Pavelski, left, and Tomas Hertl, of the Czech Republic, celebrate Hertl’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Ben Hutton, right, loses the puck to San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton after his stick broke during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
San Jose Sharks’ Logan Couture, left, reacts as Vancouver Canucks’ Adam Cracknell (24) and Luca Sbisa (5), of Italy, battle for the puck with the Sharks’ Matt Nieto (83) and Joonas Donskoi (27), of Finland, during third period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Adam Cracknell, left, checks San Jose Sharks’ Logan Couture during first period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, and Dan Hamhuis (2) celebrate Sedin’s goal against San Jose Sharks’ goalie Martin Jones, left, as Paul Martin, right, looks on during second period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
San Jose Sharks’ goalie Martin Jones (31) stops Vancouver Canucks’ Sven Baertschi, of Switzerland, during second period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Linesman Brad Lazarowich, left, collides with Vancouver Canucks’ Dan Hamhuis (2) as Linden Vey (7) digs for the puck against San Jose Sharks’ Chris Tierney (50) and Roman Polak (46), of the Czech Republic, during first period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Luca Sbisa, left, of Italy, checks San Jose Sharks’ Joonas Donskoi, of Finland, during first period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Ryan Miller (30) stops San Jose Sharks’ Joel Ward during first period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
San Jose Sharks’ Joonas Donskoi, centre, of Finland, is checked by Vancouver Canucks’ Luca Sbisa, left, of Italy, as Markus Granland, right, of Finland, skates past during first period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
San Jose Sharks’ Brenden Dillon, centre, fights off Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen while moving the puck during first period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks’ Luca Sbisa, right, of Italy, checks San Jose Sharks’ Melker Karlsson, of Sweden, during first period NHL hockey action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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