Vancouver - Nov. 27, 2011 - As usual, whenever the Sharks and Canucks play it is always guaranteed to be an entertaining game, and tonight was no different as the Canucks added to their winning streak to four games and defeat the home team 3-2. Its amazing what can be done in the off season as the Sharks made it apparent they spent the summer months studying tape of the Canucks, lots of tape!
Tried as they might to emulate the Canucks style of puck possession tonight, they failed to take into consideration that goalie Cory Schneider refused to be denied another win as he stood tall against the Sharks.
The Canucks played a spirited game in front of Schneider and Ginger reciprocated by delivering another solid performance by stopping 43 of the 45 shots he faced. That’s 45 scoring opportunities the Sharks had, and Schneider stifled all but two, and that is what is called outstanding goaltending!
Manny Malhotra opened the scoring in the first period by deflecting the puck past Sharks Goalie Antii Niemi off his own defenceman in the crease. Call it what you will, lucky, fluky, dirty, whatever. The Canucks scored first and the tone was set for the rest of the game. With the score tied midway through the second period with Joe Thornton sitting in the box paying for his cheap slash on Burrows, Henrik Sedin revitalized the Canucks potent power play by wristing a shot past Niemii to put the Canucks up 2-1. With the Sharks not having enough time to regroup and mount a pushback, 50 seconds later Andrew Alberts added insult to injury by wristing a shot from the blue line that beat Niemii to take a commanding 3-1 lead. It was Andrews’ first goal of the season, as well as his first since Moses was a small child! Between Schneids being dialed in and Andrew Alberts scoring a decisive goal, the Canucks sent the message that the Sharks were in for a long night of futility.
The two goals that did beat Schneider weren’t all completely on him, but rather defenceman Kevin Bieksa. As Bieksa is sometimes prone to do, he made an error in judgment by playing the puck carrier instead of the trailing player which resulted in a wide open Andrew Murray getting the gift of an easy goal with a gaping open net. The Sharks second goal was scored at 18:45 of the third and was the result of Bieksa screening Schneider as the the Sharks were pressing hard after pulling Niemii allowing Patrick Marleau to blindly float his shot past Schneids. It was all the Sharks could muster and it was all the Canucks were willing to give.
In the third period as the Sharks were pushing hard, out-shooting the Canucks 16-4, the D would bend but refused to break in front of Schneider as the team was able to repel the Sharks frenzy to hang on for the win. Props have to out to David Booth for playing a spirited game as he continued to show why he is deserving of wearing the Canucks colors by battling hard along the boards and showing his speed on every shift. It will be special when he and Kesler can consistently get on the same page and start filling the net with pucks. Its only a matter of time before the Canucks have a deadly 1-2 line scoring punch.
Before things get totally out of hand with the “goalie controversy” talk, let me just say that there is NO goalie controversy in Canuck Nation. Cory Schneider is playing well, real well and he deserves the starts. He’s earned them. Coach V needs to realize, which I’m sure he does, that the team needs to ride the hot goalie while he’s hot, and right now its Ginger Jesus.
The Canucks are finding their stride and tonight’s game should serve notice that the Canucks are heading for the top of the standings again. Notice has officially been served!