San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver looks to close out San Jose and advance to the Stanley Cup finals. The Canucks are -170 favorites over the Sharks with an over/under of 5.5 goals.
Unlike in game three where Vancouver was forced to play catch up for virtually the entire contest, the Canucks took a second period lead and never looked back in a 4- game five victory to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals. Sami Salo was the offensive star for Vancouver with a pair of power play tallies while assisting on a third. Ryan Kessler and Alexandre Burrows rounded out the scoring for the Canucks who scored three times in the second period while on five on three advantages. Henrik Sedin added four helpers and twin brother Daniel contributed three more in a game dominated by special teams play.
Net minder Roberto Luongo rebounded from his poorest effort of the series to post 33 saves for the victory. He managed to keep San Jose off the scoreboard until roughly the seven-minute mark of the final stanza after the Canucks had built a 4-0 lead. Reminiscent of game three when Vancouver turned a laugher in to a nail biter with a late scoring spree the Sharks at least made this interesting with Ryane Clowe got SJ on the board while Andrew Dejardins lit the lamp at 15:55 of the third but it was too little, too late. Antti Niemi was something of a hard luck loser allowing four goals on just 13 shots but in his defense he had his back against the wall with the trio of five on three power plays by Vancouver.
This game really had taken on the look of a defensive struggle until the 9:16 mark of the middle frame when San Jose began lining up at the penalty box with Kessler breaking a scoreless tie on the first of three straight 5 on 3 advantages less than three minutes apart. Salo scored at 10:55 and added what would be the eventual game winner 16 ticks later. Although the scoreboard showed what appeared to be an offensive assault on the part of the Canucks it was simply a very good team scoring when the opportunity presented itself for the second straight game. It would be hard to make a case for the Canucks dominating this game from an offensive standpoint when the were out shot by a substantial 35-13 margin.
The keys for game five in Vancouver are the same for San Jose as they were in game three: stay out of the box or skate much better down two men. The Canucks were three of five on the power play while the Sharks were 0 of 5 so a key could also be score on the power play if you are a San Jose backer. The Sharks have simply struggled at this level in the playoffs and stand at 3-11 all time in the Western Conference finals. Just tough to go against this trend especially after watching the last two games. I’m taking the Canucks minus the 170.
Vancouver Canucks -170 San Jose Sharks