Canucks 3, Sharks 2

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 27, 2011
Henrik Sedin and Andrew Alberts scored goals less than a minute apart in the second period and the Vancouver Canucks showed they still have a leg up on the San Jose Sharks, winning the first meeting between the teams since last year's Western Conference final 3-2 on Saturday night. Manny Malhotra also scored and backup goalie Cory Schneider made 43 saves to lead the Canucks to their season-best fourth straight victory. Andrew Murray and Patrick Marleau scored, and Antti Niemi made 24 saves for the Sharks, who had won four straight and six of seven. Vancouver has won four straight games for the first time since taking the last two in the five-game conference final against San Jose in May and the first two in the Stanley Cup final against Boston. The Canucks ended up losing that series to the Bruins in seven games and started this season in a bit of a funk. But with Schneider filling in admirably for banged-up Roberto Luongo, allowing three goals in the current winning streak, the Canucks are once again playing like the team that dominated the regular season a year ago. They took control of this game with the two goals midway through the second period. The first came with the man advantage after Sharks captain Joe Thornton slashed Alexandre Burrows with 5 seconds left in a San Jose power play. Vancouver's top-ranked power-play unit struck quickly, just like it did in scoring nine power-play goals in the five-game series last May. Antti Niemi gave up a long rebound on a shot from Dan Hamhuis and Sedin took the puck in the faceoff circle and sneaked a shot inside the post to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead. Just 50 seconds later, Alberts got his first goal of the season when his wrist shot from the point beat Niemi. The Canucks then killed off a couple of power plays and got a stellar effort from Schneider the rest of the way to follow up a 5-0 win in Phoenix on Friday night with another road victory against a playoff team. The Sharks made it interesting when Marleau scored with 1:15 remaining and Niemi on the bench, but San Jose couldn't get the equalizer. The Sharks were looking to follow up Wednesday night's 1-0 victory against Chicago with another win against one of the teams that knocked them out in the conference final the past two years. The Blackhawks swept San Jose in 2010 and the Canucks won last season's series in five games. The teams traded goals in a first period that included some lingering tension. San Jose's Brad Winchester and Vancouver's Aaron Volpatti squared off just over 2 minutes into the game in a lengthy continuation of a fight that started in the preseason. Winchester landed the biggest blow with his right hand but both players got in some good shots. The Canucks then once again capitalized on a fortuitous bounce, although this one was much less significant than the one that led to Kevin Bieksa's double-overtime goal that eliminated the Sharks from last season's playoffs. Malhotra sent in what appeared to be a harmless centering pass from the corner with no teammates in front of the net. The puck bounced off Douglas Murray's skate and went past Niemi for the first goal. The Sharks tied it late in the period when Andrew Murray got his first goal for San Jose, knocking in a rebound from Andrew Desjardins past Schneider - ending his scoreless streak at 154:49. Notes: Vancouver won for the first time in five tries on the back end of back-to-back games. ... Malhotra played his 800th career game. ... The Sharks recalled F Frazer McLaren from Worcester of the AHL where he had been on a conditioning assignment, but he did not play against Vancouver.
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