Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks
Vancouver looks for a commanding 3-1 lead with a game four win in Jan Jose. The Sharks are a -120 favorite over the Canucks with an over/under goal total set at 5.5.
San Jose raced out to a big lead before staving off a big Vancouver rally to hold off the Canucks and cut their Western Conference finals deficit to 2-1 with game four scheduled today. The Sharks took a 3-0 lead after just 20 minutes and it looked as if the rout was on before a scoreless middle frame led to a wild four goal third. Patrick Marleau who notched a pair of first period goals and assisted led the Sharks on the game winner. Ryan Clowe also found the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes while Dan Boyle tallied the eventual game winner. Joe Thornton added a trio of helpers and Antti Niemi posted 27 saves for the victory.
Three different players lit the lamp for the Canucks who were all but left for dead while facing deficits of 3-0 and 4-1. Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhius and Alexandre Burrows did the honors while Roberto Luongo stopped 34 of 38 shots to take the loss. On the receiving end of a 7-3 rout in game two, San Jose looked as if they were returning the favor with a three goal outburst spurred from a pair of scores from their power play. A pair of PP scores aside the Sharks also got a backbreaking breakaway goal from Marleau with 2:35 remaining in the opening frame when he skated in on Luongo and lifted the puck past him on his glove side.
Both teams appeared to settle in to more of a defensive mode in the second period but were only because Niemi stood tall between the pipes for San Jose. Vancouver peppered the Sharks net minder with 13 shots and the Canucks couldn’t take advantage of two five on three power plays that might have eventually cost them a win that would have given them a commanding 3-0 series lead. Vancouver got the break they needed to get in the scoring column ironically on a Niemi miscue when ha tried to clear the puck but hit a teammate and Burrows sent it home to cut the lead to 3-1 a little over a minute into the final frame.
Boyle’s tally on a five on three gave San Jose a 4-1 bulge but a seemingly strong lead melted away when the Sharks Jamie McGinn was whistled for boarding and received a game misconduct on a hit on Aaron Rome. The Canucks took full advantage of the five-minute power play when Henrik Sedin found Hamhius on the right circle whose slap shot cut the deficit to two goals at the 6:21 mark. Still on the man advantage Vancouver silenced the crowd with nearly four minutes left in regulation when a Bieksa shot redirected off a skate to make it 4-3 but an ensuing penalty on Bieksa ended the Canucks frantic comeback.
The key to game four is almost too obvious to mention as penalties and power plays dominated the action. Vancouver was 2 of 7 with the man advantage while San Jose was 3 of 10. The Sharks netted two first period goals and the game winner on the PP while a foolish penalty late in the game cost SJ two goals and nearly the game and series as well. At even strength I believe Vancouver is the better team but both are much too talented to be skating up a man as much as we saw in game three. These games are really tough to figure but I think the value is on the visitor. Take the Canucks plus 110 here.
Vancouver Canucks +110 San Jose Sharks