Posted January 03, 2012 on AP on Fox
Michael Handzus scored the only goal in a shootout and the San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Monday night. Jannik Hansen and Cody Hodgson scored for the Canucks in regulation. Benn Ferriero and Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead midway through the game. In the shootout, Handzus faked twice and then beat Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo on the stick side. Canucks forward Ryan Kesler hit the post earlier in the shootout, after Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis saw his sharp-angle shot hit the far post in overtime. Torrey Mitchell almost won it for the Sharks in regulation when he took Jamie McGinn's pass in the slot and beat Luongo just after the horn sounded. The Sharks won for the first time against Vancouver in three tries this season. The Canucks also beat the Sharks in five games in last season's Western Conference finals. Hansen got the only goal of the first period on a 3-on-1 break. He almost mishandled Hodgson's return pass before firing a low shot under sliding defenseman Jason Demers and past goalie Antti Niemi from the left faceoff circle. The goal was Hansen's career-high 12th of the season and it ended a six-game drought. The Sharks pushed back, outshooting Vancouver 17-7 in the second, and tied the game early in the period after killing off a high-sticking penalty on Demers. Luongo got a pad on Ryane Clowe's shot but Ferriero backhanded the rebound over the goalie. San Jose almost took the lead on a subsequent power play when Marleau and Joe Thornton found themselves alone in front of Luongo. Marleau flipped the puck across the goalmouth but Luongo was quick enough to foil Thornton. Marleau, playing his 201st consecutive game, made it 2-1 at even strength by taking advantage of another Canucks coverage breakdown. He scored his 14th goal and third in six games by backhanding a rebound behind Luongo after he stretched out his right pad to stop Justin Braun's shot from the side boards. Both goalies stood out. Niemi preserved the lead entering the final period by getting an arm on Hodgson's shot when the Canucks center created a turnover at the Sharks blue line. He then sprawled to deny Daniel Sedin's break-in during the first minute of the third period. But Niemi couldn't hold off Vancouver when the NHL's top power play went to work for the sixth time in the game. Hodgson was alone in the slot for a quick release of Hamhuis' pass to tie the game with 8:25 remaining in the third. A desperate Luongo tipped Dan Boyle's shot onto the top of his net late in the game. Niemi denied Ryan Kesler's drive from the left wing. NOTES: F Chris Higgins returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing three games with an infected hand . An infected foot kept him out of two games in December. ... Canucks D David Booth is back on skates after injuring his knee Dec. 6. He is expected to join the team for a four-game road trip beginning Saturday against Boston. ... The Canucks won their previous two games against the Sharks by 3-2 scores.

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