Sharks ride fast start to victory against Canucks

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Kevin Woodley 

Derek Cain Photographywww.derekcainphotography.com

(ISN) – VANCOUVER – The San Jose Sharks took advantage of a rough first start by Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

Chris Tierney, Melker Karlsson and Logan Couture scored in the first 7:45 as the Sharks scored on three of their first four shots in a 6-2 victory against the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.

Captain Henrik Sedin scored twice in the second period to pull the Canucks within a goal, but Matt Nieto added an insurance goal with 8:15 left in the period and scored his second goal into an empty net with 2:49 left in the game. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic added another empty-net goal as San Jose won on consecutive nights.

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Derek Cain Photographywww.derekcainphotography.com

Antti Niemi made 26 saves for the Sharks (32-25-8), who moved within three points of the Canucks for second place in the Pacific Division. They are tied with the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings with 72 points. But the Sharks remain 10th in the Western Conference because they have played more games than the Flames and Kings.

Sedin made it close. He earned his 900th career point with a power-play goal 61 seconds into the second period, then converted another beautiful pass from twin brother Daniel eight minutes later. But it wasn’t enough to keep the injury-riddled Canucks from losing to the Sharks at home for the seventh consecutive time.

Markstrom’s first NHL start this season didn’t last long; he was pulled after allowing three goals on four shots in 7:45.

Despite playing for a second straight night and arriving late, San Jose jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.

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Derek Cain Photographywww.derekcainphotography.com

Tierney scored at 3:03 on the Sharks’ first shot, jumping on a turnover in the Vancouver zone and beating Markstrom from the left faceoff dot with a wrist shot over the glove and in off the crossbar-post seam.

Karlsson and Couture scored 27 seconds apart to make it 3-0.

Karlsson’s first goal in 12 games came after a weird bounce and a brilliant play by the rookie left wing. A wrist shot off the rush sailed over the net, but bounced off the glass and back over the net in front of Markstrom, setting off a scramble atop his crease. Karlsson was on his stomach when he somehow hooked the puck towards the net, beating a spread-eagled Markstrom just inside the right post.

The Sharks cashed in a rebound on the next shift after Markstrom kicked Nieto’s shot off the rush – his only save – right to Couture.

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Eddie Lack, who had given up 10 goals in his previous two starts and played four straight since No.1 goalie Ryan Miller injured his knee on Feb. 22, took over, and the Canucks got life early in the second period.

Henrik Sedin had an empty net after a power-play scramble in front left brother Daniel with the puck and goaltender Antti Niemi flat on the ice. Rather than shoot into a pile of bodies, Daniel made a blind backhand pass to Henrik for an easy goal to make it 3-1.

Daniel Sedin’s assist on Henrik’s second goal just over eight minutes later was even prettier. Daniel skated the puck up from below the goal line and into the right slot on his backhand, then spun right onto his forehand and delivered a perfect cross-crease pass to a streaking Henrik, who slid his 15th goal of the season into the empty net.

Lack robbed Marleau of a backdoor tap in with 8:30 left in the period, but Marleau stripped Daniel Sedin at the side of the net before the Canucks could clear the zone and fed Nieto alone in the slot for a quick shot over the left shoulder of Lack deep in his crease. It was the first goal in 18 games for Nieto, who also had an assist.

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Derek Cain Photographywww.derekcainphotography.com

Vancouver had a great chance to get back in the game again on the power play, but failed to convert a 5-on-3 for 1:26 with eight minutes left in the second period. Radim Vrbata hit the crossbar and Niemi made a great right pad save on Daniel Sedin in tight.

The Canucks had another great chance on the power play with nine minutes left in the game, but Linden Vey shot over an empty net.

Lack finished with 23 saves.

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