Niemi, Sharks beat Canucks 5-1

Vancouver, BC ( – Antti Niemi backed a strong offensive
effort with 33 saves in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-1 win over the Vancouver
Canucks on Thursday.

Niemi stopped nine shots in the first period, 12 in the second and 12 in the
third to improve to 6-0-2 over his last eight starts.

“Niemi stood on his head when we needed him,” Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin

Matt Irwin, Joe Pavelski, Melker Karlsson and Andrew Desjardins all scored,
Chris Tierney posted his first NHL goal and Logan Couture and Brent Burns each
tallied two assists as the Sharks bounced back from a 3-1 loss in Calgary on

Radim Vrbata provided a late goal and Ryan Miller allowed all five goals on 38
shots for the Canucks, who won their previous two matchups with the Sharks
this season.

“We’ve got a lot of tough hockey ahead of us,” Vancouver head coach Willie
Desjardins said. “It’s up to us to be ready. One line played well tonight,
others have to take that on.”

Irwin opened the scoring for the Sharks on a shot from the edge of the left
circle that rang off the far post and into the net with 2:17 left in the first

Karlsson deflected Burns’ point shot past Miller 6:24 into the second to give
San Jose a 2-0 lead.

The Canucks appeared to have cut the deficit in half with 6:46 left in the
second, but the goal was waved off because Alexandre Burrows illegally used
his glove to direct the puck into the net.

Dan Hamhuis went off for tripping and Henrik Sedin for unsportsmanlike conduct
with 1:44 left in the second to give the Sharks a two-man advantage.

They converted before the intermission as Pavelski’s pass across the slot went
off Nick Bonino’s stick and past Miller for a 3-0 lead with 15 seconds to play
in the second.

Just over three minutes into the third, Vrbata raced in on a partial
breakaway, but Niemi stopped his backhander to keep Vancouver off the board.

Moments later, Marc-Edouard Vlasic kept the puck in at the blue line and sent
it across to Burns. Tierney deflected Burns’ shot at the right circle for a
4-0 San Jose lead.

Vrbata ripped a shot from the right circle to spoil Niemi’s shutout bid with
1:57 remaining in regulation, but Desjardins wristed a shot over Miller’s
shoulder to account for the final score with 4.7 seconds to play.

Game Notes

Patrick Marleau became the 11th player in NHL history to play in his 1,300 NHL
games with one franchise. He also became the youngest to do so at 35 years and
143 days, topping the previous which was held by legendary Devils defenseman
Scott Stevens (35 years, 247 days) … Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov
registered his first career point with an assist on Desjardins’ goal …
Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev was out of the lineup with an undisclosed
injury and fellow blue-liner Frank Corrado missed a second straight game with
an illness … The two teams will meet again in Vancouver on March 3.