VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Anson Carter found an appropriate way to end an ugly game.
Carter scored the winning goal on a controversial crease scramble just 55 seconds after Markus Naslund tied the game in the third period, lifting the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
In a game with little flow and few shots before a busy third period, Carter knocked the puck into an empty net after Evgeni Nabokov stopped Henrik Sedin in tight and was taken out by his own defenseman Scott Hannan.
“An ugly game like that we need a goal like that,” Carter said. “It was important we prove to ourselves we can win an ugly game.”
Wade Brookbank also scored, and Bertuzzi had two assists to help the Canucks win for the fifth time in six games and improve to 10-1 at home.
Alex Auld made 20 saves to pick up his second straight win since Vancouver’s No. 1 goalie Dan Cloutier injured his knee Sunday in Anaheim.
Patrick Marleau also scored and Nabokov stopped 19 shots for the Sharks, who have lost eight straight games (0-3-5). Grant Stevenson, who had a goal in his NHL debut Wednesday night in Calgary, added two assists for San Jose.
After combining for 22 shots through two slow periods, the pace finally picked up a little in the third.
Marcel Goc gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead 1:57 into the period, but Naslund tied it at 7:11 on a one-timer off Todd Bertuzzi’s cross-ice backhand pass and Carter gave the Canucks their first lead at 8:06.
“A younger team would get frustrated but the guys here are mature and grind it out,” Carter said. “We’ve shown we’re capable of staying patient.”
The celebration had to wait for a video review of the goal, which appeared to cross the goal line after Hannan knocked the net loose as he slid into the crease. After the review, referee Kerry Fraser announced the goal would stand because it was a San Jose player that knocked the net off.
“There wasn’t any doubt in my mind the goal would stay,” Carter said.
Ron Wilson wasn’t as sure, even after the game. Add in a San Jose goal that was disallowed after another review in the final minute and the Sharks’ coach sounded off on the officiating before cutting his media availability short.
“On the first one, the referee’s explanation was they were in the act of shooting when we knocked the net off,” he said. “I might be wrong, but I thought it was when we deliberately knock the net off, not accidentally.
That’s one. The second one, the puck went in the net.
On that one, Auld appeared to make an easy save off Jonathon Cheechoo’s harmless looking shot out of the corner. But when Scott Thornton arrived looking for a rebound, he saw the puck was already in.
“It was totally clear,” said Thornton. “I turned to the ref and started yelling. He agreed with me but there was no clear angle from the camera.
Video from of an overhead angle appeared inconclusive.
“He said he blew the whistle. He actually blew that call,” Wilson said. “That should count and everybody knows it. The goalie pulls the puck out from two feet inside the net after the whistle blows. The people upstairs should have told him the puck went directly in the net.”
Wilson was also upset he didn’t receive an explanation on the second review.
“That’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t communicate with head coach of a team,” he said. “Come over and give me an explanation because he was wrong on that one. That cost us a point.”
Despite arriving in Vancouver just before noon after fog stranded them in Calgary after the previous night’s loss to the Flames, the Sharks outshot the Canucks 7-6 in the first period.
“A game like this is difficult,” said Naslund. “If you try to be creative and try to be pretty, you’re going to turn pucks over and they’re going to get chances.”
The Sharks led 1-0 when Marleau converted a two-man advantage, but Brookbank, a seldom-used enforcer, tied it with his first goal of the season. He was later credited with an assist on Naslund’s goal, doubling his career point total.
Naslund has a point in eight straight games, posting six goals and six assists in the stretch. … Vancouver failed to record a shot on two power plays. San Jose came into the game leading the league in shots, but only three NHL teams have scored fewer goals. … The Sharks ended a three-game road trip and dropped to 4-7-2 away from San Jose this season.