Lack of finish costly for Canucks in loss

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider keeps his eye on the puck while playing against San...

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider keeps his eye on the puck while playing against San Jose Sharks during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Vancouver, March 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)

Hosea Cheung, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Chances weren't exactly the issue for the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday. Finish — and for that matter, Finnish goalie Antti Niemi — however, was a different story.

With 38 shots through three periods and overtime, the Canucks couldn't put enough pucks past the San Jose Sharks netminder to escape the shootout. And despite erasing a two-goal lead earlier in the night, they eventually fell 3-2 to the visiting Sharks.

Joe Pavelski scored in the fourth round of the shootout, after Logan Couture and Chris Higgins had exchanged markers through the first six shooters. But at the end of the night, the glaring issue for the Canucks came down to their unproductive power play.

The team had 10 shots through five man advantages — including a full two minutes in overtime — but failed to beat Niemi. It cost them the game, resulting in their second straight loss.

"If your power play is minus-one, it's tough to win games," Henrik Sedin said, referring to the team also giving up a shorthander. "We played a really good game, we outplayed them most of the game. We should have had two points."

Cory Schneider, who made 28 saves in the loss, gave credit to his counterpart afterwards.

"We worked hard, we threw a lot of pucks at their net … but Niemi played a really good game, it seems like he's been doing that a lot this year," Schneider said. "It's frustrating when you play a back-and-forth game, a really tight game and you come back and lose in a shootout. It's a little dissatisfying."

Although Vancouver finished the first period with 17 shots on net, it was a slapshot by Scott Gomez that opened the scoring for the visitors. The centre potted his first goal of the season and his first career tally against the Canucks. That lead doubled in the second period when a familiar name struck for the Sharks. Adam Burish, remembered — or rather, despised — by Canucks fans from his days with the Chicago Blackhawks, scored on a shorthanded breakaway, also his first goal of the season.

Vancouver then woke up, finally getting on the board. Daniel Sedin threw the puck in front to an unmarked Henrik Sedin, who calmly backhanded the shot past Niemi for his fourth goal of the season. With 25 seconds left in the middle frame, Jannik Hansen's snipe through a Chris Higgins' screen tied the game up for Vancouver. It was the Dane's third goal in as many games.

"Right now the puck is finding it's way through so that's always a plus," Hansen said of his hot play.

Chances at both ends late in regulation — including a Jason Garrison slapper off the post — failed to solve anything. The Canucks power play in the extra session also couldn't deliver, despite several quality opportunities.

"I liked the way we battled back hard," said Mason Raymond, who finished with an assist. "Power play opportunities we were all over them. We had some great looks ... that's a point you can definitely miss."

Defenceman Keith Ballard, who found himself back in the lineup after sitting out the past two games, left in the third period with a charley horse and did not return. Blueliners Kevin Bieksa (groin) and Andrew Alberts (healthy scratch) also sat out for Vancouver.

The Canucks head back onto the road Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

 


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