Canucks use PP to down Sharks
The Canucks are one win away, ladies and gentlemen.
Vancouver used their powerplay, specifically three straight five on three's, to down the Sharks 4-2 in a crucial game 4. It was a bizarrely officiated game, with the Canucks taking 5 straight penalties to open the game, and then the Sharks taking four straight to blow the game open.
The Canucks were able to weather the early storm, only allowing ten shots on four powerplays, none of any real danger. Tanner Glass took a tripping penalty 26 seconds into the contest, Kevin Bieksa took a high sticking call, and then Tanner Glass took another penalty, this time for boarding. In Glass's defense, the call was border line at best. The Canucks had their blood boiling after they were called for another questionable call, Raffi Torres for charging to end the first period.
In the second, Dan Hamhuis took a hooking penalty directly after Torres' penalty. Remarkably, the Sharks powerplay was impotent, despite having outrageous success in the three games previous. When the Sharks got into penalty trouble, it was the Canucks making them pay. First, with Dany Heatley off for high sticking, and Torrey Mitchell off for hooking, Ryan Kesler wired a one timer past Sharks goalie Anti Niemi.
A mere thirty seconds after that, Ryan Clowe served a bench minor for too many men, putting the Canucks on another 5 on 3 advantage. Sami Salo unleashed a bullet into the back of the net, putting the Canucks up by 2. Then,seconds after that, Douglas Murray was called for delay of game after shooting the puck over the glass. Sixteen seconds after he had made it 2-0, Salo stepped into another one timer to make it 3-0. The Sharks managed to kill off the remaining penalty, but were in a gigantic hole.
For all their success on the powerplay, the Canucks had zero shots five on five in the second period.
Five minutes into the third period, Henrik Sedin gave TSN some highlight reel material after skating in two on one with Alex Burrows, Henrik went wide right, faked a shot, passed the puck through the legs of Niemi to Burrows, who tapped in an easy goal. It was Henrik's fourth assist of the game, breaking the franchise record of three in one playoff game.
The Sharks made it a game late in the third with goals from rookie Andrew Desjardins and captain Joe Thornton, but they never really came close enough for any major drama. Speaking of drama, Joe Thornton left the game after a collision and never returned. Sharks fans will all pray that he'll be back.
The Canucks were outshot a remarkable 35-14, but they still managed a 4-2 win. That's scary. What's scarier is that the officials may have a larger impact on this series than what anybody wants.
Note: Rookie Chris Tanev took the place of the injured Aaron Rome and played admirably, never looking out of place and checking in at a solid 9 minutes of ice time, with a rating of even.
Game 5 goes Tuesday in Vancouver.