For the second straight season, the Canucks saw their season come crashing down off a goal during sudden death overtime. The San Jose Sharks eliminated the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night 4-3, sweeping the Canucks to advance to the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
It took less than three minutes for the Sharks to strike first. Scott Hannan fired a shot on net from the point that was tipped by Brent Burns past Cory Schneider to give San Jose the 1-0 lead on just the third shot of the game at 2:41.
Five minutes later, Mason Raymond delivered a point shot that trickled over Antti Niemi to tie up the game. The goal marked the first time in the series that the Canucks managed to score in the opening period.
A boarding penalty against Derek Roy for a hit against Brad Stuart proved costly. While some fans were arguing the call, it appeared to be legitimate as Stuart had his head down and had no chance to defend himself as Roy came in for the hit as Stuart dropped like a rock. Just eight seconds into the Sharks power play, Joe Pavelski used a spin move to give the Sharks the lead back at 14:52. The goal was Pavelski’s third of the series.
In the second period, Cory Schneider managed to keep the Canucks in the game. The most notable stand was when Dan Hamhuis was sent off for hooking, drawing a double minor. Schneider and the Canucks were able to kill off the four minute San Jose power play to keep the game at 2-1.
After outshooting the Sharks 13-11 in the first period, the Canucks managed just four shots on net. Just like the previous three games in the series, going into the final period, Vancouver’s goaltending was the only thing keeping them in the game.
In the third period, the Canucks offense finally came alive. After a roughing penalty to Andrew Desjardins at 8:00, Alex Burrows tipped in a game-tying goal past Niemi off nifty passes from Daniel and Henrik. Just two minutes later, Alex Edler gave the Canucks a 3-2 lead with a slap shot goal from the blue line that would make Jason Garrison proud.
After Kevin Bieksa was sent off for cross-checking, Pavelski struck again, tying up the game with a backhand power-play goal at 15:33, forcing the game into overtime.
In overtime, a controversial penalty call against the Canucks sent Daniel Sedin off to the penalty box. Just like they had all night, the Sharks came through again on the power play as Patrick Marleau netted the game-winner. It marked the first time the Canucks had been swept in the playoffs since 2001.
Schneider did everything he could, making 42 saves, but his efforts fell short as the Canucks couldn't maintain the late lead once again.
Now, the lockers will be cleaned out. Jobs will be in jeopardy. But next season, this team will be back just as hungry as ever for a Stanley Cup next season.