Final
  for this game

Canucks shoot for 3-0 lead in San Jose

May 20, 2011 - 2:45 PM
(Sports Network) - The top-seeded Vancouver Canucks will try to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals when they visit the San Jose Sharks for tonight's Game 3 at HP Pavilion.

The Canucks won the first two games of this best-of-seven series on home ice, but San Jose is hosting tonight's contest as well as Sunday's Game 4. The Sharks are 4-3 on home ice in this postseason after posting a 25-11-5 record at the Shark Tank during the regular campaign.

After losing the opener of this series by a 3-2 score, the Sharks were humbled in Wednesday's 7-3 setback at Rogers Arena. The Canucks were ahead by a slim 3-2 margin after 40 minutes, but they scored four times in the third period to help account for the lopsided final score.

San Jose has been outscored 6-1 in the third period during this series. The Sharks were ahead 2-1 heading into the final stanza of Game 1 before Vancouver scored a pair of third-period goals.

Daniel Sedin scored twice in Game 2, while Chris Higgins added a goal and two assists. Higgins' goal in the third period proved to be the game winner for the Canucks, who had 12 different players record a point on Wednesday.

Henrik Sedin and Dan Hamhuis each had three assists for the Canucks, who got 28 saves from Roberto Luongo. Kevin Bieksa and Mason Raymond each had a goal and an assist while Raffi Torres and Aaron Rome added a goal each in the win. Bieksa also had a fight in the second period to complete the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick".

"We played a real solid game tonight at both ends of the rink," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault. "We've talked about playing whistle to whistle and staying disciplined and we've done that throughout the playoffs."

Ben Eager, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture each scored for the Sharks, while Antti Niemi was lit up for all seven goals on 38 shots.

"They had more battle in their game than we did and at this time of the year if you have more battle you are going to win," said San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. "You can't chase this team cause they're too good. You either have to play with them or ahead of them."

San Jose fell to 2-10 all-time in conference final games. The Sharks lost in six games to Calgary in the 2004 West finals and were swept last year by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.

The Sharks are in the conference finals for a third time in club history after ousting Detroit in seven games in the last round.

Vancouver beat Nashville in six games to reach the conference finals for the first time since 1994, when they beat Toronto for the Western Conference title before losing to the New York Rangers in seven games.

On the injury front, Sharks defenseman Jason Demers is questionable after sitting out both games of this series with an undisclosed injury. Veteran blueliner Kent Huskins has skated in Demers' place and he may be needed again tonight.

Meanwhile, Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson, who has missed the last three games, is out indefinitely after having surgery Thursday to repair his adductor tendon and a sports hernia. The veteran Swede has one goal and two assists this postseason.

The Canucks were 27-10-4 as the guest during the regular season and are 4-2 as the road team in the playoffs.