Jason Demers was scratched before the game, giving Kent Huskins his first start of the postseason for the San Jose Sharks. The start of the game figured to be pivotal for the San Jose Sharks, as they’ve been outscored 13-7 in the opening period.
Vancouver carried play in the early going, dictating the pace and dominating in the faceoff circle winning their first four draws.
The Canucks opened the special teams, with the first power play on the Douglas Murray high-stick at 9:09 of the first period. San Jose’s improved penalty kill continued to take strong strides, holding Vancouver without a shot on the first penalty of the game.
Ben Eager and the fourth line continued their strong improved play, until Eager could not avoid the interference on Roberto Luongo just four minutes later.
San Jose killed the penalty again, and the team picked up their play behind the strong penalty kill to push back against the Canucks.
With just two minutes left in the period, Roberto Luongo played the puck up the left side boards only to have Sharks’ captain Joe Thornton intercept. Sweeping the puck into the open net to open the scoring for San Jose, Thronton’s play was indicative of his strong two-way play all night.
The first period came to an end with the Sharks surging back to even out the shots, 10-11, but still struggling to find their way in the faceoff circle.
Niemi just a few minutes into the second period, committed another puck-handling error by turning the puck over to the Canuck cycle. Lapierre evened the score at 1:49 of the second period for the Canucks, with the assist going to Jannik Hansen from the Niemi turnover.
Midway through the second period, the Sharks began applying the pressure but could not get one past Luongo, before Mason Raymond went off for holding at 7:44.
Just a minute into the Sharks’ first power play, Patrick Marleau tips the Dan Boyle shot from the point to take back the lead for San Jose. Scoring his fourth goal of the playoffs, Marleau gives the Sharks the lead with assists to Dan Boyle and Joe Thornton.
San Jose had taken play to the Canucks for the majority of the second period, until Vancouver began to pour it on with about five minutes left to play. Antti Niemi stopped everything during an incredibly long and wild sequence against the Kesler line, and then again stoned Hansen with about two minutes left in the third.
The third period opened with a much more cautious pace, as the Sharks were trying to slow down the pace early on. San Jose got stuck on a bad change early in the third with Thornton-Wellwood-Mayers struggling to clear the zone.
Just a few seconds later, Kevin Bieksa tied the game from the right point after taking the pass from Alex Burrows. Dany Heatley took an ill-advised elbowing penalty on Torres at 7:34, giving the Canucks another power play.
Henrik Sedin gave the Canucks the lead on the backhand just a few seconds into the Heatley penalty, answering the call for Vancouver at 8:21 as the Sharks couldn’t clear the zone.
San Jose continued to do themselves no favors, allowing two back-to-back odd-man rushes down the ice with Niemi delivering the big stops. Mason Raymond missed on several chances after Kent Huskins passed the puck directly to the closest Canuck in the Sharks zone.
The Canucks carried play late into the third, out-shooting the Sharks 14-6 with just four minutes left to play in regulation.
Boyle and Lapierre took offsetting minors at 17:16, leading to four on four hockey before Niemi was pulled leading a brief Sharks five vs. four powerplay.
San Jose failed to get much pressure before the Canucks closed out the game, with the huge Game 1 win.