(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks will try to complete the franchise's
first sweep of a playoff series on Tuesday when they host the Vancouver
Canucks in Game 4 at HP Pavilion.
After winning Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver, sixth-seeded San Jose staked itself
to a commanding 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series with Sunday's 5-2 rout
of the Canucks.
If San Jose can't finish the sweep of the third-seeded Canucks, the series
will head back to Vancouver for a Game 5 encounter on Thursday.
The Canucks, who won their fifth straight Northwest Division title this
season, are in serious danger of a second straight first-round exit. Vancouver
was the top-seeded team in the West last spring when it was eliminated in the
opening round by Los Angeles.
Vancouver lost the opener of this series by a 3-1 score before falling 3-2 in
overtime in Game 2. The Canucks were hoping the return of No. 1 goaltender
Cory Schneider would change their fortunes in Game 3, but that was not the
Instead, it was San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi leading his team to victory,
as he made 28 saves to back up a strong offensive effort from the Sharks, who
took control of the game with three goals in the first 4:07 of the third
The Sharks led 2-0 before Alexandre Burrows cut the deficit for Vancouver at
11:07 of the second period. However, Logan Couture registered two power-play
goals during San Jose's outburst in the third period to help five the Sharks a
Clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Sharks broke the game open by lighting the lamp
three times in a span of 2:27.
San Jose opened the frame on a power play after Joe Thornton drew a cross-
checking penalty on a breakaway with 15 seconds left in the second period.
Couture skated down the left wing and beat Schneider to the far side at the
1:40 mark. Patrick Marleau scored nine seconds later, cutting to the middle
and firing a shot while falling down.
Couture converted on another man advantage at 4:07 to make it 5-1 and end
"It's nice to get the quick (goals), mine on the power play and (Marleau),"
Couture said. "Big goals. Got the crowd back into it, got us going in the
third. It was a lot of fun."
Dan Hamhuis scored for Vancouver at 13:12 of the third period to account for
the final margin.
Schneider missed the final two games of the regular season and did not dress
for the first two playoff contests with what the team termed a "body" injury.
He was replaced in the third period on Sunday by Roberto Luongo, who started
and lost the first two games of the series in Vancouver.
"Down 3-0, our lifelines are gone. We can't mess up anymore," said Canucks
forward Jannik Hansen.
The Canucks were one win away from winning the club's first championship in
2011, but have now lost nine of their last 10 playoff games since taking a 3-2
lead over the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago.
Vancouver hasn't been swept in a best-of-seven series since losing four
straight to Colorado in the opening round of the 2001 playoffs.
The Sharks, who won all three encounters against Vancouver in the regular
season, were 17-2-5 on home ice this year compared to an 8-14-2 mark on the
San Jose played the last two games without forward Martin Havlat, who is
dealing with a lower-body issue and is questionable for Tuesday. Fellow
forward Scott Gomez (undisclosed) and defenseman Jason Demers (ankle) are also
questionable for Game 3.
These teams met just once before in the playoffs, with the Canucks taking the
Western Conference final series in 2011 in a five-game victory.
The Sports Network