JOSE – Don’t look now but there’s a crowd developing atop the
Pacific Division of the NHL.
While the San
Jose Sharks (42 points) lost for the second time this week, a 3-2
overtime setback to Vancouver Wednesday at sold-out HP Pavilion,
idle Dallas and the victorious Los Angeles Kings sit in second with
41 points apiece.
Toss in Phoenix,
a 2-1 overtime loser to Boston, with 40 points and the games set
for the new year may result in a few points separating the playoff
teams from the also-rans in the Pacific Division.
Jose shook off a 2-0 deficit and earned one point by making it an
overtime game with two timely goals in the second
fashioned a 16-4 edge in shots in the scoreless third
Vancouver escaped a 4-on-3 penalty
kill late in the third period, then won the game when Andrew Ebbett
moved to the top of the crease and deflected Kevin Bieksa’s low
shot from the blueline into the net 3:23 into
Jose begins a two-game roadtrip Tuesday with a rematch in
Vancouver. After a game in Anaheim Wednesday, the Sharks come home
Thursday to play Columbus.
of the Northwest Division by two points over Minnesota, had scored
at least four goals in four of its past five games coming into
Jose needed more than 13 minutes of the second period to erase a
Vancouver accounted for the only
goal of the first period, a wrap-around by Daniel Sedin that moved
the winger into fourth place in the NHL scoring chart with 41
points in 37 games. Henrik Sedin, with the primary assist, reached
42 points and a tie for second place behind leader Claude Giroux
(44) of the Flyers.
Jose, still last in the league in penalty-killing on home ice, gave
up a goal to the Canucks’ power play in the second
Brent Burns was
sent off the ice for holding at 1:45 of the second period. One
minute into the extra-man time, the Canucks set up in the San Jose
zone. Alexander Edler’s low shot from the top of the left circle
was stopped by goaltender Antti Niemi. The short rebound, at the
edge of the crease, was controlled by Ryan Kesler and jammed under
Niemi at 2:58 for the 2-0 edge.
Niemi kept it a
two-goal deficit when he stopped a Daniel Sedin breakaway shot 8:26
into the second. By the 11:01 mark, the deficit was cut to one.
Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau did a give-and-go rush at the
Vancouver zone with Couture splitting the defenders from the
blueline and wristing a shot inside the left post past goaltender
Jose did not get a power play until the 16:06 mark of the second
period. Showing no sign of rust on the power play, the Sharks
struck for the equalizer at 16:12. The offensive zone face-off left
the puck in the right corner. Joe Thornton controlled the puck,
then turned to the right dot and ripped a high shot over Luongo’s
shoulder for his seventh goal of the season.