Sharks wreak havoc on Canucks

Sharks forward Dany Heatley celebrates a goal scored by teammate Ryane Clowe (not shown) on Canucks...

Sharks forward Dany Heatley celebrates a goal scored by teammate Ryane Clowe (not shown) on Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo during Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference finals in San Jose, Calif., May 20, 2011. (CHAD ZIEMENDORF/Reuters)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

SAN JOSE - When a team is beaten up, embarrassed and on the brink of defeat, how they respond reveals a lot about their character.

The San Jose Sharks chose to respond like Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro did to that poor guy they stuffed into the trunk of their car in the movie Goodfellas.

The only things missing were the shovels and bags of lime as the Sharks stormed out to a 3-0 first period lead Friday night at HP Pavillion. Then, when Vancouver came to life and made it 4-3 in the third, the Sharks showed enough composure to close the deal.

And now, with the series at 2-1 and Game 4 here Sunday, the Sharks are letting everyone know, the Canucks in particular, that this thing ain’t over.

“People have doubted us all year, all post-season,” said Logan Couture. “When Detroit came back on us there were doubters. We don’t listen to the outside world, we know we’re confident in this room. We’ve got some good leaders, the coaching staff is confident and that trickles down to everyone. We’re a confident team.”

They looked it in the first, practically running Vancouver out of the rink. Patrick Marleau scored twice and Ryan Clowe scored another. By the 15-minute mark, the shots were 15-1 San Jose.

“We’ve seen that team a number of games in the playoffs,” head coach Todd McLellan said of a San Jose team that looked nothing like the one that lost Games 1 and 2. “It was nice to see us return to the way we can play.

“I thought our intensity was much improved, we fought harder and won more battles.”

San Jose drew Vancouver into 11 penalties, scored three times on the power play and pelted them with 30 shots by the 30-minute mark. Marleau, who’s been taking heat all playoffs, had a three-point night in the victory.

“Patty is playing great,” said Devin Setoguchi. “The media that was all over him last series... as players in here we always believe in him. He’s the catalyst of our team.”

The whitewash got interesting in the third when, with San Jose up 4-1. Jamie McGinn’s hit on Aaron Rome at 11:22 resulted in a five-minute major and almost cost San Jose the game. The Canucks scored twice on the power play (Dan Hamhuis at 13:39 and Bieksa at 16:04) setting the stage for some last-minute dramatics.

“We gave up a couple,” said Devin Setoguchi. “But we bunkered down in the last three minutes and got the win. This is huge. Would you rather be down 2-1 in a series or down 3-0? There’s a big difference.”

Ask the Canucks. They almost had this thing won. Now they’re the ones who need to respond.

“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” said Kevin Bieksa. “We gave them a lot of momentum. The next thing you know we were down three. I thought 5-on-5 we were the better team. It took a while to get our power play going, but we got going in the third. We just ran out of time.”

LATE HITS: Couture left the game early in the third period after colliding -- head to shoulder -- with teammate Clowe. He returned with eight minutes to play. With the score 4-1, McLellan told him to take the rest of the night off.

“He’ll be fine,” said McLellan. “He’ll be playing in Game 4.”

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@Sunmedia.ca

TWITTER.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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