The Vancouver Canucks probably weren’t many hockey fans’ pick to leave the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs first; even fewer likely thought they’d be ousted in a sweep by the San Jose Sharks.
But Patrick Marleau’s fourth goal in four games at 13:18 of overtime on Tuesday night sent the Canucks home, and the Sharks to the second round with a 4-3 victory.
It was a power-play goal; and the reason the Sharks were given that power play made the defeat sting even more for Vancouver:
Daniel Sedin was given a 2-minute minor for boarding Tommy Wingels at 13:03 of overtime on a shoulder-to-shoulder hit that saw the Sharks forward’s head crash into the boards.
A borderline call? Nope, just a bad call, especially in overtime of an elimination game.
TSN got comments from referee Kelly Sutherland:
Referee Kelly Sutherland on Daniel call: Deemed it a violent shove into the boards where the player couldn't defend himself from the hit.
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) May 8, 2013
"It's playoff overtime and it was shoulder to shoulder. I thought it was a bad call"
That said, he continued:
"We didn't lose the series on that call, we should have been better early on. It sucks."
The postmortem on the Canucks is going to be epic.
Does Alain Vigneault survive this? Assuming his GM Mike Gillis does, what does he do with Roberto Luongo, given the suddenly shaky playoff performance of Cory Schneider, who was soft for the second straight game? Remember, the primary reason Luongo lost his job was playoff fallibility – along with his elephantine contract.
What scoring will be added to the roster? Which Canucks will leave to shake up the mix?
Who pays the price for this disaster?
Meanwhile, the Sharks look … nah, we can’t even got there yet.
Suffice it to say that Marleau’s four goals are as stunning as Joe Pavelski’s are expected. That Logan Couture continues to look like the new leader of the team. And that Antti Niemi, even in giving up three goals, has continued to be the backbone of the San Jose defense.
It’s a team that invites you to believe in them. If they play as well as they did in sweeping the Canucks, it may be hard not to.
Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Jaguars taking a wait-and-see approach with QB Blaine Gabbert
• Did Hall of Fame inductee's tweets inspire the Knicks?
• UFC newcomer's explosive cheating charge