Marleau’s 3 points lead San Jose past Canucks, 4-3

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE
– A three-goal cushion secured in the first period proved enough
offense to enable the San Jose Sharks to outlast the Vancouver
Canucks 4-3 in Game Three of the Western Conference Stanley Cup
Finals Friday at sold-out HP Pavilion.
SAN JOSE – A three-goal cushion secured in the first period proved enough offense to enable the San Jose Sharks to outlast the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in Game Three of the Western Conference Stanley Cup Finals Friday at sold-out HP Pavilion.

Down 2-1 in the series, the Sharks entertain the Canucks Sunday at 12noon before the series switches to Vancouver for Game Five Tuesday.

Patrick Marleau scored twice in the first period as San Jose produced a pair of power-play goals and an even-strength tally to go into the first intermission with a 3-0 lead.

Marleau connected from the low slot off a Joe Thornton feed from the endboards 3:56 into action for the game’s first goal. Vancouver’s Maxim Lapierre was called for roughing Ian White at 2:03. The Sharks were down to their final seven seconds of extra-skater time when Marleau found room to beat goaltender Roberto Luongo.

The only other penalty of the period, a four-minute high-sticking infraction by Vancouver’s Christian Ehrhoff at 6:54, led to San Jose’s second goal. Ryane Clowe skated into position at the low slot and redirected a long shot by Dan Boyle at 8:22 to make it 2-0.

San Jose’s lone even-strength goal of the night came at 17:25 of the first period. Marleau joined Logan Couture atop the team post-season goal-scoring list at seven when he blocked a shot inside the Sharks zone, then skated ahead for Thornton’s feed and turned the breakaway into a 3-0 margin with a shot inside the right post.

“(Marleau) competed hard,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan. “Patty’s a multi-faceted player who can play in any situation.”

The Sharks built a 12-1 margin in shots on net within the game’s first 12 minutes and finished the period with a 16-8 edge.

“It was nice to see us return to the way we can play,” McLellan said of the strong first period. “The power play was sharp.”

A total of seven minor penalties in the second period failed to change either team’s score. The Sharks had an extended period of time on penalty-kill. Andrew Desjardins, playing in his first-ever Stanley Cup game, was penalized at 14:27 and then at 16:32, five seconds after leaving the penalty box. Thornton was called for holding the stick at 15:01, setting up a pair of 5-on-3 kills for the hosts.

Vancouver poured in three goals in the third period, but Shark Dan Boyle’s power play goal at 6:46 garnered enough of an edge to keep the Sharks in control.

The Canucks needed 1:09 of the third to solve San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi for the first time in the game. Niemi’s long rebound from the right flank allowed Alexander Burrows to collect the puck and flick it inside the left post to make it 3-1.

Boyle’s goal off a Marleau pass gave the Sharks the three-goal lead back. San Jose was on a 5-on-3 power play after penalties by Canucks Ryan Kesler and Burrows. The Boyle score was made more necessary when Jamie McGinn was penalized five minutes for boarding and given a game misconduct at 11:22. Vancouver used the five minutes to produce two goals, Dan Hamhuis at 13:39 and Kevin Bieksa at 16:04.

Vancouver pulled Luongo for an extra skater with 1:31 left but could not find the tying goal. Bieksa’s hooking penalty on Clowe with 50.2 seconds left dented the Canuck comeback bid.

“We gave that team 10 power plays and I thought we were pretty disciplined,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault stated.

San Jose finished with a 38-30 edge in shots on net.

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