Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vancouver still unbeaten as the Sharks lose again, 3-2

The Vancouver Canucks remained unbeaten in the preseason, going 6-0-0 after beating the San Jose Sharks in regulation, 3-2. As I predicted in an earlier blog post, former Shark Steve Bernier found a nice new home on the Sedin twins' line - which scored all three Vancouver goals.

Sharks prospect Riley Armstrong (w/ Lukas Kaspar on the assist) struck first blood late in the first period, but Vancouver's top line struck back in the second period: Bernier scored first, followed by Daniel Sedin three minutes later to make it 2-1 Vancouver. Joe Pavelski evened things with four mintues to go in the period, with a little help from Ryane Clowe and Milan Michalek. Unfortunately for San Jose, they couldn't convert a 5-on-3 advantage (boy does that sound familiar...) in the last moments of the period. At only 39 seconds into the final period, Henrik Sedin scored the eventual game-winner, with both Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin notching their second assist of the evening.

Vancouver goaltender Curtis Sanford (he of the fan-designed mask) stopped 31 of 33 shots, while his San Jose counterpart Evgeni Nabokov stopped 17 of 20. Once again, the Sharks dominated in shots-on-goal, and also had a slight edge in faceoffs won - but still lost the game.

The Vancouver Canucks have been written off by a number of pundits - and while preseason games don't count, the team's performance has hopefully turned a number of heads. If only I could say the same for Team Teal... their preseason record is now 2-4-0. The Sharks play their final preseason game, an exhibition match against the Los Angeles Kings in Salt Lake City, this Sunday.

Regular season hockey begins Saturday in both Prague (New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning) and Stockholm (Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators); the teams switch venues / cities on Sunday. San Jose hosts the Anaheim Ducks on October 9 in both teams' opening game.


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