clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Canucks saved by the bell as Thornton's last-second game-tying goal waved off

New, comments

The Canucks were horribly outplayed and had no business winning this game, but luck was on their side tonight.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Canucks and Sharks square off, it's always an entertaining game. Thursday night was no different as the game came down literally to the final second. With the Canucks leading 3-2, Joe Thornton looked to have delivered a game-tying goal as time expired in regulation. However, upon further review, his shot crossed the line a tenth of a second too late as the Canucks hung on for the 3-2 win to improve to 10-4-0 on the year.

Ryan Miller delivered another brilliant performance, stopping 34 shots en route to his 10th win. Miller Time was in full effect as he gave his team every chance to win. Fortunately, they provided him with just enough goals to do just that.

First Period

In the opening minute, the Sharks delivered shot after shot on net, putting Ryan Miller to the test. Five minutes into the game, the Sharks were outshooting the Canucks 7-2 and already had 15 scoring chances. It was as if the Sharks had immediately started the game on the power play.

After unleashing 10 shots against the Canucks, the Sharks finally got one past Miller as James Sheppard scored his second goal in as many games. Tyler Kennedy delivered a cross-ice pass to Thomas Hertl, who waited just long enough and hit Sheppard in the skate to beat Miller and give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. There wasn't enough evidence of a kicking motion to overturn the goal, although it looked like a pretty clear kick to me.

Vancouver's best chance early on came right at the start of San Jose's first power play when Chris Higgins came up with a loose puck and took off down the ice. Patrick Marleau stayed with Higgins just long enough to prevent him from getting a better shot attempt on net.

With just 7.7 seconds left in the first period, Radim Vrbata sniped in a shot past Antti Niemi to tie things up, giving the Canucks a huge boost of momentum going into the first intermission. It was a much needed goal for Vrbata as well, breaking a streak of six games without a goal.

Considering how the game started for Vancouver, it's nothing short of a miracle they were able to go into the first period tied 1-1. Let's just say the defensive effort by the Canucks in the first period left something to be desired, especially from Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Stanton.

I will also take this brief moment to say that as a relatively new fan of hockey (the 2011 Stanley Cup Final is what got me hooked on Canucks hockey), I'm still always learning new things about the game. I finally decided to look more into Corsi (I haven't dabbled in advanced stats yet) and I have to admit, it's my new favorite stat in hockey and I now understand all the rage behind it.

2nd Period

Seven minutes into the second period, the Canucks caught another lucky break when the Sharks broke out on an odd-man rush. Patrick Marleau blasted a shot towards the net, forcing Miller to his left to block the shot. That left a wide open net on the other side as the shot missed wide and deflected off the boards straight to Logan Couture. Fortunately for the Canucks, Couture couldn't get his stick on the puck. Otherwise, it would've practically been an empty net goal.


In my eyes, this proved to be the games defining moment. If Couture handles this puck, the game would likely eventually go into overtime. Instead, the Canucks hung on for the win in regulation, denying the Sharks of a point.

The Sharks would regain the lead just 10 seconds into a power play as Couture redeemed his earlier miss. Couture positioned himself perfectly in front of the net to take a pass from Joe Pavelski and made sure to get a clean handle on this puck.

The Canucks would then cash in on a power play of their own just two minutes later as Alex Edler blasted his third goal of the season on net. As you can see in the screenshot, Niemi had a hard time getting a good look at the shot with Henrik standing in his way just enough to let Edler slip one past Niemi.


Five minutes later, Nick Bonino would give the Canucks a 3-2 lead. The play started with a blocked shot by Burrows who came up with the puck and took off down the ice and slipped a pass to Bonino as he hustled into the zone. Bonino was able to beat Thomas Hertl (who found himself without a stick) to get a clean look on net and give the Canucks the lead.

Somehow, someway, the Canucks went into the second intermission with a 3-2 lead despite being outshot 22-12 at that point.

3rd Period

The third period got off to a slow start with only a pair of shots on each side of the ice during the first 10 minutes.

The Sharks would head to the power play with 6:51 remaining in the game as Jannik Hansen was sent off for interference. Midway through the power play, Joe Thornton had a great look on the net, but Miller was able to slide over in time to make the save. The Sharks had a couple good chances during the power play, but the Canucks were able to kill it off.

The suspense of the third period was killing everyone. The Canucks had no business being in the lead, but things have a funny way of working out in hockey sometimes.

In the final seconds of the game, Miller faced one last onslaught of shots and stopped everything the Sharks threw at him. Well, that was until the clock hit zero. Right at the buzzer, Joe Thornton came up with what looked to be the game-tying goal with no time left on the clock. Fortunately for Ryan Miller and the Canucks, this isn't basketball or football and the puck has to cross the line before time expires. It did not.

You really thought this game was going to have a dull ending? You clearly haven't watched a Sharks and Canucks game. Every time these teams square off, it feels like a playoff game no matter what month it is.

The Canucks continue their California road trip on Saturday night as they face the Los Angeles Kings. They'll wrap up the road trip on Sunday against Ryan Kesler and the Ducks before heading home to face the Senators.