San Jose Sharks 3, Vancouver Canucks 1: Sharks Win Western Conference Finals 4-0 and Advance to the Stanley Cup Finals
The Sharks hoped to sweep the Canucks and move on to the Stanley Cup Finals, while the Canucks hoped to extend their season to at least one more game. Both teams wore throwback jerseys in what may be their final contest of the season.
The Sharks challenged themselves with Teemu Selanne (SJ) taking a hooking penalty that gave the Canucks a powerplay. Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) left a rebound to a wide open Todd Bertuzzi (VAN) in the slot, but he missed the net to keep the score null. The Sharks had chances at the other end against Dan Cloutier (VAN), but he stopped their shorthanded efforts cold. Matt Cooke (VAN) then took a roughing penalty on Brad Stuart (SJ) after a scoring chance to give the Sharks their first powerplay of the game. The Sharks looked to control the flow of the game, but their early passing attempts were off, allowing the Canuck defenders to recover the puck with relative ease. Dan Cloutier (VAN) also made timely saves end the penalty kill for the Vancouver. Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) made solid saves at his end too, as the Canucks outshot the Sharks 10-6 in the opening period. Sharks 0, Canucks 0.
Immediately off the opening faceoff Lynn Loyns (SJ) strolled into the Canucks zone and spotted Mike Ricci (SJ) in the slot for a one-time shot that beat Dan Cloutier (VAN) and ended the stalemate. Sharks 1, Canucks 0.
Canucks Captain Marcus Naslund then took an undisciplined hooking penalty against Mike Rathje (SJ) to give the Sharks their second powerplay of the game. Adam Graves (SJ) danced with the puck and then fed Brad Stuart with a cross-ice pass who buried the powerplay goal. Sharks 2, Canucks 0.
Todd Bertuzzi (VAN) then broke in on the far side against Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) and wristed a shot that beat Nabby's blocker. Sharks 2, Canucks 1.
Mats Lindgren (VAN) then took a hooking penalty to seemingly reverse the Canucks' fortunes and put them back on the defensive. While the penalty killers provided some pressure on the Sharks, Brad Stuart controlled the puck and fed a wide open Dan McGillis (SJ) who incredibly missed a wide open net. Dan Cloutier (VAN) then took over - he stopped several scoring attempts by Marco Sturm, Alexander Korolyuk and Patrick Marleau (SJ), and the rebounds he gave up only led to further saves. The powerplay ended with the Canucks triumphant and the Shark incredulous. The period ended the same way, with the Sharks outshooting the Canucks 22-13.
The potential final period in the Canucks' season. Early on, the Sharks continued to watch shot after shot denied by Dan Cloutier (VAN). Even a breakaway by Alexander Korolyuk (SJ) ended with Cloutier out of position but Koroyluk hitting the post. Marco Sturm (SJ) had his own breakaway that was denied by the outstretched right pad of Cloutier, adding to his heroics and rendering the game the closest of the series.
Trevor Linden (VAN) and Todd Bertuzzi (VAN)showed some offensive prowess with a give-and-go in the Sharks crease that was somehow kept out by Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) The Canucks, left with little alternative, pulled Dan Cloutier (VAN) for an extra attacker. Bodies flew everywhere and the puck appeared to defy physics in the Sharks' zone until finally Scott Thornton (SJ) banked a clearing attempt that ricocheted into the empty Canucks goal. Sharks 3, Canucks 1.
The Sharks outshot the Canucks 30-26 for the win. The following players were selected as the three stars of the game:
3) Todd Bertuzzi (VAN) Registered 1 Goal, 0 Assists and +0
2) Brad Stuart (SJ) Registered 1 Goal, 0 Assists and -1
1) Evgeni Nabokov 25 of 26 (96%)
San Jose Sharks 3
Vancouver Canucks 1
The Sharks sweep the Canucks to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 1 is scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday, June 21st at 7:00PM Pacific Standard Time.