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Sharks top Canucks for fourth win in five outings

Oct 14, 2006 - 4:49 AM VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- Playing in the Vancouver Canucks' home opener did little to slow down the San Jose Sharks.

Curtis Brown and Mike Grier scored shorthanded goals in the third period and Vesa Toskala won his 10th straight regular-season game to lead the Sharks to a 6-4 triumph over the Canucks.

Coming off Thursday's loss to the Edmonton Oilers, San Jose rebounded to win for the fourth time in five games. The Sharks were victorious without getting points from reigning Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner Joe Thornton and defending Maurice Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo.

"Yeah, well Curtis Brown's line, each guy chipped in a goal," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "Their primary responsibility is killing penalties and they got the job done for us. For us to get some scoring from those lines is huge."

The Sharks held a 4-3 lead when Toskala found a streaking Brown, who skated in on goaltender Roberto Luongo and flipped a backhander just under the crossbar at 1:23 of the third period.

Brown had just come out of the penalty after San Jose killed a 5-on-3 power play when he saw his chance to score.

"I was just coming out and I was yelling, 'I'm out. I'm out', Brown said. "As I was yelling, the puck was coming towards me. It was a timely rebound off (Toskala) and a great ending. It doesn't happen very often when I'm in the penalty box, so I was certainly excited to see it bounce out to me."

"I was just trying to keep my stick in the passing lane and I knew where he was going to draw to the guy on the point," Toskala said. "I didn't try to pass to give him a breakaway. It was just a lucky bounce and he got the goal."

After Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund cut the deficit to 5-4 with a slap shot from the right point midway through the session, Grier took blue-liner Matt Carle's feed and beat Luongo inside the left post with 8:15 to play.

"I was just going down," Grier said. "It was rolling, so I didn't think I could make a move on him. I just threw it at the net and got lucky and found a hole."

Toskala extended his franchise record for consecutive victories by making 22 saves in his third outing of the campaign.

Vancouver captain Markus Naslund tied Trevor Linden's franchise record when he netted his 300th career goal in the opening period, tying the score at 1-1.

"We didn't play them the way we were supposed to," Naslund said. "We didn't backcheck as hard as we should and we didn't work as hard as we should. They're a talented team. It doesn't matter if their big line doesn't score, they still have a lot of firepower."

Twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined for five points and Luongo stopped 31 shots for Vancouver, which fell to 20-14-3 in home openers.

"I felt pretty good in the second period and they got some good goals," Luongo said. "Then in the third, obviously, I didn't make the big saves. ... It was a real up-and-down night."

San Jose needed just 1:48 to open the scoring when Milan Michalek's shot from the left faceoff circle was stopped by Luongo before the puck fluttered off captain Patrick Marleau's stick into the net.

After Naslund's milestone tally, Michalek set up San Jose's second goal with 1:37 left in the opening period by taking a shot from the left circle that was knocked down by Luongo before defenseman Christian Ehrhoff chipped in the rebound inside the left post for a 2-1 edge.

Blue-liner Kevin Bieksa scored his first career goal when he wristed Jan Bulis' centering pass from behind the left post into the net at 7:52 of the second period, forging 2-2 tie.

However, the Sharks came back to take the lead with 7:46 left in the middle session when Ryane Clowe's blast from the right circle was stopped before Patrick Rissmiller shot the rebound past a diving Luongo.

Ville Nieminen gave the Sharks a 4-2 lead just two minutes later, scoring from the slot after Brown's blast from the left point was knocked down in front.

With 1:45 left in the second, Henrik Sedin led a 2-on-1 rush and set up his brother Daniel, who found the top-left corner of the net, cutting the deficit to 4-3.

"You can work as hard as you want on the ice and you probably have that willingness to perform well," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "But if it's not done in a smart and intelligent manner, then the results wont be what they need to be."

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