– Lots of news Saturday night as the National Hockey League’s
regular season rolls toward its final fortnight.
The San Jose Sharks moved three points ahead of the idle Chicago
Blackhawks in the race for the Western Conference title.
SAN JOSE – Lots of news Saturday night as the National Hockey League’s regular season rolls toward its final fortnight.
The San Jose Sharks moved three points ahead of the idle Chicago Blackhawks in the race for the Western Conference title. Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe scored in a 4-2 victory over the Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Caucks at sold-out HP Pavilion.
Joe Thornton, who played in his 379th consecutive game for the Sharks, missed the last 4:37 of the second period and all of the third after tumbling into the corner boards off a push from Vancouver’s Alexander Edler.
Detroit, charging up through the Western Conference standings, slipped into sixth place with a 1-0 shootout win over Nashville that needed 10 shootout rounds to complete.
San Jose, on a three-game winning streak, (102 points) is right back on the ice at 5pm Sunday opposite eighth-place Colorado of the Western Conference. Chicago (99) hosts Columbus.
Vancouver opened the scoring 9:38 into the first period.
Five seconds after a Sharks icing, Henrik Sedin won the face-off for the Canucks to linemate Alexandre Burrows. A snapshot by Burrows found its way between the right arm of goalie Evgeni Nabokov and the left post, the puck dropping across the goalline for the 1-0 Vancouver edge.
The Sharks responded with the next three goals, all in the second period.
Dany Heatley pulled the Sharks even 3:01 into the period with a power play goal. Dan Boyle stopped a Canuck short-handed play by chipping the puck into neutral ice to Marleau. Heatley took Marleau’s pass inside the Canuck zone, cut to the high slot and buried a shot inside the right post past goalie Roberto Luongo.
Marleau scored while the teams were playing 4-on-4 with 9:29 gone in the second. Marleau charged at Canuck defenseman Edler and jabbed the puck up ice. Marleau kept ahead of the following defense as he faked to his left before pulling a backhanded shot over Luongo’s left pad for his 42nd goal of the season.
Marleau continued toward his four-point night by assisting on Pavelski’s goal at 11:30. Pavelski’s shot from the inside edge of the right circle was pushed aside by Luongo with his left shoulder. Pavelski whacked at the lofted puck, finding the inside of the left post for the 3-1 cushion.
Henrik Sedin reached 101 points atop the NHL scoring race with his second assist of the night 7:55 into the third during a power play. Boyle was in the box for slashing when Henrik Sedin whipped a shot from the left boards that caromed off Burrows toward Daniel Sedin below the right circle. Daniel Sedin found the back of the net for his 23rd goal of the season.
“It’s a milestone I never thought I’d reach, so it’s nice” said Henrik Sedin of his first time as a 100-point scorer.
After the Canucks had several scoring chances in the closing eight minutes, Clowe put the game away with 10.8 seconds left. Marleau stole the puck behind the Canuck net and fed Clowe for the empty-netter.