SAN JOSE, Calif – Entering Sunday night’s contest the San Jose Sharks could be forgiven for being anxious in anticipation of facing a Canucks team that would be fighting for its playoff life. Instead, they faced a club seemingly going through the motions of playing a post season game in the NHL.
Coming off a pair of dismal home losses that gave the Sharks a 2-0 series lead heading into Sunday, Vancouver needed an emotional effort from the cage out. Corey Schneider started in the Canucks net replacing Roberto Luongo who had played solidly on home ice. The move was characterized as returning to the number one goalie and not a reflection on Luongo’s performance.
The lead was built on a pair of first period goals by Joe Pavelski.
In the third, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau each scored on Schneider first at 1:40 then at 1:49 respectively.
Couture added his second of the night and second on the powerplay at 4:07 to make the score 5-1 and effectively shut down the Canucks the rest of the evening.
“We punished them on the power play,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said on NHL.com. “That was the difference.”
Three of the five goals were scored on the powerplay.
“I got caught leaning a couple times,” Schneider said on NHL.com. “I was anticipating instead of reading. I expect to play Tuesday, but that’s out of my hands. I want to be back in there.”
Tuesday will be a big night for both teams. Schneider may have been rusty Sunday and Luongo appeared sharp as he came into the third period in relief.
“We felt Lou was playing great, to be honest with you,” Sharks captain Joe Thornton said of Luongo on NHL.com. “We felt lucky we didn’t have to play against him. When we shot tonight, we made it count, and it was big that we did.”
It may not matter who is net if the skaters in front of them do not feel the urgency to play with any intensity.
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