Jovanovski scored the go-ahead, power-play goal with 9:45 remaining, and the Canucks snapped a four-game road losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the slumping Sharks on Wednesday night.
Carter added another power-play goal with 6:07 left from a similar spot directly in front of Evgeni Nabokov. The Canucks were 7-for-65 on the power play on the road this season before scoring twice in a busy third period.
“In the new NHL, it’s a little harder to move you once you get in front of the net,” Carter said. “We made a pretty conscious effort to get in front and try to score from there. We were able to match their intensity early, and we got some big chances late.”
Just 14 seconds after Wayne Primeau went to the penalty box for hooking, Jovanovski drove the net and deflected Brendan Morrison’s crossing pass underneath Nabokov for the defenseman’s fifth goal of the season—the 300th point of his career.
On another power play 3:38 later, Carter was left unchecked while he batted a rebound past Nabokov, who stopped 21 shots in his second game back from a three-week absence with a shoulder injury.
Richard Park scored Vancouver’s first short-handed goal of the season in the first period. Dan Cloutier made 24 saves—12 in the third period—and the Canucks got a confidence-boosting win on the first stop of a three-game California road trip.
“If we can bottle that third period and take it with us to L.A. (Thursday night), we’ll be all right,” Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. “It’s nice to come into this place, where it’s very difficult to play, and get a win. The second period was all Sharks, and I liked the way we responded.”
Marcel Goc scored for the Sharks, who lost their fourth straight despite playing just once in the previous seven days. With six of its next eight games on the road, San Jose is off to a disappointing 8-8-2 start after making no significant offseason additions to a young team that reached the conference finals in 2004.
“The special teams (woes) are what you see, but it’s what’s leading up to it,” said San Jose coach Ron Wilson, who particularly criticized the passing of defenseman Brad Stuart. “Why did we make the plays leading up to when we committed the penalties? … Then it’s a downer to have a power play and turn over the puck and make bad decisions.”
Park got his fifth goal of the season when San Jose’s power-play unit got profoundly confused, turning over the puck and then leaving Park alone to take an easy shot at Nabokov.
Goc tied it early in the second period with an expertly placed shot on a 2-on-1 break with Josh Langfeld. Goc, a German rookie who provided an unexpected boost to the Sharks’ run to the conference finals, has four goals in six games.
The Sharks pulled Nabokov and had a 6-on-3 advantage in the final 41.8 seconds, but lost a faceoff and only got the puck on net twice. Vancouver hadn’t won on the road since Oct. 25.
“Special teams let us down,” Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren said. “You have to thrive on special teams, and we didn’t do it. It’s inexcusable to get off the way we’re playing in the first period, and it’s costing us points.”
The Sharks put backup G Vesa Toskala back on injured reserve with a groin injury to make room for Thornton. Toskala has played just once since getting hurt Oct. 26, giving up five goals in a loss to Colorado last week. … D Steve McCarthy didn’t travel to San Jose with the Canucks after aggravating his injured groin in practice Tuesday. Brookbank took the lineup spot of McCarthy, who missed his third straight game. … Vancouver D Sami Salo thought he scored yet another goal moments after Jovanovski’s goal, but officials waved it off, curiously claiming a Vancouver teammate was in the crease. Crawford said the call was “a little bit puzzling, but it’s always a little bit puzzling when you’re not the benefactor of the call.”