San Jose scored three first period goals and held on to edge Vancouver 4-3. Patrick Marleau scored twice in the first period as San Jose is back in the Western Conference finals trailing Vancouver 2-1.
San Jose down 2-0 in the series knew they had to come out strong in the first period to change the momentum in the series and that is exactly what they did. San Jose struck for the first goal of the game on the power play; it was the third game San Jose scored first. Joe Thornton from behind the net passed to Patrick Marleau in the slot and he slid the puck between Luongo’s legs and San Jose had a 1-0 lead. San Jose then scored on their second power play of the period when Ryan Clowe beat Luongo on the rebound and San Jose increased their lead to 2-0. With that goal San Jose has gone 5 for 5 on the power play in the series; Vancouver has to do a better job on the penalty kill if they plan on winning this series. San Jose closed out the scoring on Patrick Marleau’s second goal of the game, Joe Thornton sent Marleau in on a breakaway and he made no mistake and beat Luongo to give San Jose a 3-0 advantage. San Jose won all the races to the puck and dominated the first period and out shot Vancouver 16-8.
There was no goals scored in the second period and it was a much more evenly played period. San Jose continued to get a lot of pressure and a lot of shots at Luongo during their power plays, but failed to score on the power play in the second period. Vancouver had a chance to get back in the game when they had two different 5 on 3 power play chances, but even though they had many chances to score Niemi made all the saves and that would come back to haunt the Canucks.
Vancouver needed to score an early third period goal if they were going to have any chance of getting back in the game and that is exactly what happened. Alex Burrows was left open in the slot and his wrist shot beat Niemi at 1:09 to cut the San Jose lead to two. Vancouver once again ran into penalty problems and gave San Jose a 5 on 3 power play and unlike Vancouver, San Jose made Vancouver pay. Dan Boyle’s slap shot from the point beat Luongo and once again San Jose had a three goal lead, it was the first time San Jose has scored three power play goals in a game and on the negative side it was the first time Vancouver had allowed three power play goals in a game. It looked like San Jose was going to easily win the game until Jamie McGinn was given a major penalty for hitting Aaron Rome from behind and Vancouver was given an opportunity to get back in the game and that is exactly what they did. Dan Hamuis one-timed a cross ice pass from Daniel Sedin and beat Niemi making it 4-2. Vancouver made the score 4-3 about two minutes later when Kevin Bieksa’s slap shot from the point went off San Jose defensemen Ian White and past Niemi to make the San Jose faithful a little on edge. Vancouver could not get the equalizer however and San Jose won the game 4-3, Game 4 will be on Sunday afternoon in San Jose. Vancouver needs to be more disciplined in Game 4 and stay out of the penalty box or they will be going back to Vancouver with the series tied.
Notes: Vancouver lost two defensemen to injury during the game, Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome.
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Written by Kevin Kelly