SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Canucks scored on three two-man advantages in a span of 1:55 in the second to beat the Sharks 4-2 on Sunday and move within one win of the Stanley Cup final.
Vancouver has reached the final only twice over its first 39 seasons, losing in 1982 and 1994.
"We're excited, obviously," said goalie Roberto Luongo, whose team is 2-4 in games that can clinch series this season. "But the series is far from over. We know that as we've seen in the first two series."
In its 4-3 loss in Game 3, Vancouver allowed three power-play goals and failed to score on a five-on-three that lasted 1:55. Sunday, it took the game's first five penalties (spending 10:00 of the first 24:06 shorthanded) but killed them all.
"The guys did a huge job, blocking shots, getting in lanes, cutting off passing lanes, making sure there's no seam passes," said Luongo, who made eight saves during the power plays. "They mostly kept (shots) to the outside, which makes my job easier."
In the second, the Sharks had four penalties in a span of 2:46. With Dany Heatley in the box, Torrey Mitchell went off for hooking. The Canucks took just 10 seconds to capitalize, Ryan Kesler beating Antti Niemi with a one-timer.
Just 1:23 later and with Mitchell still in the box, the Sharks got caught with too many men on the ice. This time, it took the Canucks 16 seconds to score, Sami Salo making it 2-0. Soon after, Douglas Murray sent the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. And 10 seconds later, Salo made it 3-0.
"We kept marching to the box. They kept scoring," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said.
The Canucks are the first team in league history to score three five-on-three goals during a playoff game. Henrik Sedin, who led the league with 75 assists during the regular season, set up all three goals as well as an even-strength goal in the third.
"When you give Henrik that much open time, he's going to find a way to make plays," said Canucks wing Alexandre Burrows, whose team scored only one five-on-three goal during the regular season.
"We have great shooters on that power play. He's a magical player the way he's able to hold on to that puck and make plays."
First Period—None. Penalties—Glass, Van (tripping), :26; Bieksa, Van (high-sticking), 10:32; Glass, Van (boarding), 13:36; Torres, Van (charging), 20:00.
Second Period—1, Vancouver, Kesler 6 (Salo, H.Sedin), 9:16 (pp). 2, Vancouver, Salo 2 (H.Sedin, D.Sedin), 10:55 (pp). 3, Vancouver, Salo 3 (H.Sedin, D.Sedin), 11:11 (pp). Penalties—Hamhuis, Van (hooking), 2:06; Heatley, SJ (high-sticking), 8:15; Mitchell, SJ (hooking), 9:05; San Jose bench, served by Clowe (too many men), 10:39; Murray, SJ (delay of game), 11:01.
Third Period—4, Vancouver, Burrows 6 (H.Sedin, D.Sedin), 5:43. 5, San Jose, Desjardins 1 (Huskins, McGinn), 7:02. 6, San Jose, Clowe 6 (Couture, Marleau), 15:55. Penalties—Marleau, SJ (interference), 13:29; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 20:00. Shots on Goal—Vancouver 6-4-3—13. San Jose 10-8-17—35. Power-play opportunities—Vancouver 3 of 5; San Jose 0 of 5. Goalies—Vancouver, Luongo 11-6-0 (35 shots-33 saves). San Jose, Niemi 8-8-0 (13-9). A—17,562 (17,562).
Injuries: The Sharks lost Joe Thornton, their top assist man during the regular season, on Raffi Torres' hit into the boards. His status will be determined today. The Canucks played without defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome due to undisclosed injuries. Both were hurt on hits by Jamie McGinn during Game 3.