VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Two games into the postseason, Raffi Torres is looking like a pretty significant trade-deadline acquisition by the San Jose Sharks.
After assisting on a final-minute tying goal in regulation, Torres capped a two-on-one break
early in overtime to give the upstart Sharks a 3-2 win over the stunned Vancouver Canucks.
The victory enabled sixth-seeded San Jose to take a 2-0 lead over the Northwest Division
champion Canucks in their best-of-seven series. Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinal
is set for San Jose on Sunday night.
"We're going home and the next game is the most important game," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "I think we have to elevate our game a fair amount if we're going to have success. It's only big for us if we take advantage of it in Game 3."
The winning sequence started when Sharks forward Brent Burns carried the puck into the
Vancouver end with Torres on his left and only Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa back. Burns slid the puck to Torres, who beat Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo with a one-time.
"I just went to the net with my head down," Torres said. "I didn't see the puck go in, but was fortunate to get it so we're feeling good right now."
It was another disappointing result at home for the Canucks, who have now lost their last
six playoff games while playing host.
"It's disappointing, it's going to burn for a couple more hours," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "But when we get up tomorrow morning whatever happened today we have to turn the page."
San Jose's Patrick Marleau sent the game into sudden death with a tying goal with 55.1
seconds left in the third period. Marleau poked his second of the series past Luongo on a
goal-mouth scramble as the Sharks skated with the extra attacker.
"(Dan) Boyle made a great pass out to me before that, I took a quick shot and started going
to the net and saw it laying behind him," Marleau said. "I was able to sneak in behind him and
put it in."
Ryan Kesler scored two third-period goals to rally the Canucks from a 1-0 deficit after two
Kesler, who played Game 1 despite battling the flu, scored a tiebreaking goal after a
Sharks' turnover at 7:06 of the final period. Boyle couldn't connect with forward Joe Pavelski
on an attempted breakout pass that Kesler picked off in the high slot before beating Antti
Niemi over the San Jose goalie's right pad for his 12th career playoff goal.
The Canucks tied the game inside the first minute of the third period thanks to Kesler's
first goal, a power-play strike following an undisciplined penalty taken by San Jose's Andrew
The guilty forward tripped Alexandler Edler 180 feet from the San Jose net after the Vancouver defenseman had released the puck. Kesler's shot from the middle of the blue line slipped through an Alex Burrows screen in front Niemi at :59.
"We took a penalty we probably would like to take back. ... our power play wasn't as sharp
as it needed to be," McLellan said. "Could kind of feel the momentum change there a bit."
Desjardins tried to atone for the early-period miscue, but a drive in close hit the post
with 6:53 remaining.
The Sharks had the only goal of the opening 40 minutes, tight-checking and physical yet
disciplined on both sides much like Game 1.
The visitors broke on top at 13:22 of the first period when at even-strength Joe Thornton
scored his 21th playoff goal in front to cap a goal-mouth scramble. The sequence started with a faceoff win in the Vancouver zone by the Sharks. Defenseman Brad Stuart put a hard shot on goal from the right point and Burns sent the puck to Thornton in the slot after
winning a battle for possession.
San Jose had a potential second goal waved off early in the second period when forward Tommy Wingels fell into Luongo just before a Pavelski shot found the back of the net. Mason Raymond's push on Wingels went unpenalized.
The Canucks are still waiting for their top scorers -- namely twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin -- to start contributing.
"I thought they worked hard," Vigneault said of the twins. "Five-on-five they need to find the scoresheet and they know that more than anybody else."
Both Luongo and Niemi were outstanding through the first two periods. Luongo shut down San
Jose's four power plays in the opening two periods and Niemi was perfect during a second period in which the hosts outshot San Jose 14-8 after being held to only four shots in the opening 20 minutes.
Niemi stopped a pair of two-on-ones in the middle period and held the Canucks off the scoreboard during two power plays in the second period.
"The more we can think that this series is far from over the better off we'll be," Torres
said. "We have to go with the mindset that we're down 0-2."
For Vancouver, it's time to hit the road and play with desperation.
"If we plan on continuing, and I think this group does, we're going to have to get some goals from more people," Vigneault said. "It's like the regular season, you win when you're getting contributions from everybody. Right now we need that."
NOTES: The victim of an unpenalized and undetected spear from Bieksa early in Game 1, Sharks right winger Martin Havlat didn't skate on Friday and remains out indefinitely. Veteran center Scott Gomez, injured late in the regular season, did not dress resulting in forward Tim Kennedy stepped into the San Jose lineup on the fourth line between James Sheppard and Adam Burish. ... Vancouver starting goalie Cory Schneider remains out with an undisclosed injury. Rookie Joe Cannata, with no NHL experience, again dressed as the backup in Game 2. ... Vancouver forward David Booth (left ankle) and defenseman Chris Tanev (leg) remain out. ... San Jose is 5-11 all time in Game 2s on the road.
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