Jacob Markstrom finally got his first NHL start of the season on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, it was over almost as quickly as it had begun. The Sharks scored three goals on their first four shots, running Markstrom out of the game in just 7:45.
Henrik Sedin scored twice in the second period for the Canucks, reaching 900 career points after his first goal, but the Sharks were able to hold off the comeback attempt, defeating Vancouver 6-2 at Rogers Arena.
After the game, the Canucks captain was quick to defend Markstrom.
Henrik Sedin on Jacob Markstrom: "It's on everyone. It's not on him." #Canucks— Cam Tucker (@CamTucker_Metro) March 4, 2015
Personally, I don't think Markstrom is ready to be an NHL goalie just yet. Sure, he's had a big year in Utica, but when he's had his shot in Vancouver, it hasn't been pretty. It's not fair to Markstrom to be thrown into a playoff race so suddenly after Ryan Miller's injury, but these things happen in hockey, and as a professional, Markstrom has to not only be ready at all times, but recover better after letting by an early goal.
In Markstrom's five appearances with the Canucks, he's given up 13 goals and has a save percentage of .838. It was clear from the start that nerves were getting the best of the young Swede.
The Sharks would probably be just fine with playing the Canucks in the playoffs, considering they've outscored the Canucks 11-3 in two games at Rogers Arena this year.
Matt Nieto had two goals and an assist, including a crucial goal in the third period with the Canucks threatening to tie the game after San Jose jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
Antti Niemi did his part in net for the Sharks, stopping 26 shots. This came just a couple days after rumors swirled around about the Sharks aggressively shopping Niemi on the trade market.
San Jose wasted no time in getting on the board, scoring on their first shot of the game. After coming up with a turnover in Vancouver's zone, Chris Tiereny took advantage of the fact that Linden Vey was without a stick, wristing a shot past Vey and Markstrom to put San Jose up 1-0.
You might recall Tiereny scored his first NHL goal last month in a 5-1 win over the Canucks, also at Rogers Arena.
After a shot at the point from Matt Irwin ricocheted off the glass behind the net and landed right in front of the crease. While Markstrom was still trying to get an idea exactly where the puck was, Melker Karlsson managed to wrap his stick around, while already down on the ice, to knock the puck past Markstrom. Just like that, it was 2-0 Sharks.
Then, just 27 seconds later, Logan Couture came away with a rebound goal after a shot by Matt Nieto deflected perfectly off Markstrom's pad and right to Couture's stick. That would be the final straw for Markstrom, who lasted all of 7:45 in his first start of the year with the Canucks.
On the bright side, the Canucks could probably sneak Markstrom through waivers again if they had to.— Pass it to Bulis (@passittobulis) March 4, 2015
After San Jose's quick start, Derek Dorsett tried to ignite a bit of a spark for the Canucks by picking a fight with John Scott, but that probably wasn't the brightest idea considering the tale of the tape.
Derek Dorsett: 6'0" and 192 pounds. John Scott: 6'8" and 260 pounds. Bit of a mismatch...— Cam Tucker (@CamTucker_Metro) March 4, 2015
Continuing tonight's Princess Bride theme, I present Derek Dorsett vs John Scott. pic.twitter.com/OgKG6SLmSb— Don Falconer (@TheFalconer) March 4, 2015
Just 61 seconds into the second period, the Canucks got a much-needed goal on the power play from Henrik Sedin. With Niemi scrambling in his crease, Daniel Sedin got a pass off to his brother who delivered a one-timer from the right face-off circle.
900 and counting... https://t.co/fLWJmw8ByN— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 4, 2015
Good desperation level on that PP.. I wonder if that might have been a rare instance of a raised voice from WD during intermission..— Blake Price (@blakeprice1040) March 4, 2015
The Sedins struck again at 9:12 when Daniel slipped an incredible pass in between Brent Burns and Mirco Mueller to Henrik, who finished the nifty play with his second goal of the period. Alex Burrows once said the Sedins communicate like dolphins, and after this play, you could see how that comparison could be drawn.
901 and counting... https://t.co/lnOd38bdPi— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 4, 2015
That's called making love on ice.— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) March 4, 2015
After Eddie Lack came up with a huge save midway through the second period with the Canucks trailing 3-2, Patrick Marleau took down Daniel Sedin in Vancouver's zone, setting up a goal from the slot by Matt Nieto at 11:45. Coming into tonight, Nieto had gone 17 games without a goal.
Nieto later helped ice the game with an empty-netter at 17:11. Marc-Edouard Vlasic added a final empty net goal at 18:09.
Just over midway through the second period, the Canucks had a golden opportunity to get back within a goal, going on a 5-on-3 power play for 1:27. Vancouver had several good chances on net, but the Sharks were able to kill off both power plays to hold onto their 4-2 lead going into the final period.
The Canucks went 1-for-5 on the power play during the night, missing key chances to get back into the game.
The Canucks had one final power play midway through the third period as Joe Thornton was sent off for high sticking at 8:59. During the advantage, Linden Vey had a wide open net, but somehow couldn't put the puck in the net. That seemed to deflate Vancouver as San Jose was able to run out the clock. The final score looked worse than it actually was for the Canucks, but it was a disappointing loss nonetheless.
Vancouver will get another crack at the Sharks on Saturday as part of a quick, two-game road trip that starts with a stop in Arizona on Thursday. After that, the Canucks will play eight of their next 10 games at home.