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Niemi, Sharks beat Canucks 5-1

Feb 6, 2015 - 6:57 AM Vancouver, BC ( - Antti Niemi backed a strong offensive effort with 33 saves in the San Jose Sharks' 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Niemi stopped nine shots in the first period, 12 in the second and 12 in the third to improve to 6-0-2 over his last eight starts.

"Niemi stood on his head when we needed him," Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin said.

Matt Irwin, Joe Pavelski, Melker Karlsson and Andrew Desjardins all scored, Chris Tierney posted his first NHL goal and Logan Couture and Brent Burns each tallied two assists as the Sharks bounced back from a 3-1 loss in Calgary on Wednesday.

Radim Vrbata provided a late goal and Ryan Miller allowed all five goals on 38 shots for the Canucks, who won their previous two matchups with the Sharks this season.

"We've got a lot of tough hockey ahead of us," Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins said. "It's up to us to be ready. One line played well tonight, others have to take that on."

Irwin opened the scoring for the Sharks on a shot from the edge of the left circle that rang off the far post and into the net with 2:17 left in the first period.

Karlsson deflected Burns' point shot past Miller 6:24 into the second to give San Jose a 2-0 lead.

The Canucks appeared to have cut the deficit in half with 6:46 left in the second, but the goal was waved off because Alexandre Burrows illegally used his glove to direct the puck into the net.

Dan Hamhuis went off for tripping and Henrik Sedin for unsportsmanlike conduct with 1:44 left in the second to give the Sharks a two-man advantage.

They converted before the intermission as Pavelski's pass across the slot went off Nick Bonino's stick and past Miller for a 3-0 lead with 15 seconds to play in the second.

Just over three minutes into the third, Vrbata raced in on a partial breakaway, but Niemi stopped his backhander to keep Vancouver off the board.

Moments later, Marc-Edouard Vlasic kept the puck in at the blue line and sent it across to Burns. Tierney deflected Burns' shot at the right circle for a 4-0 San Jose lead.

Vrbata ripped a shot from the right circle to spoil Niemi's shutout bid with 1:57 remaining in regulation, but Desjardins wristed a shot over Miller's shoulder to account for the final score with 4.7 seconds to play.

Game Notes

Patrick Marleau became the 11th player in NHL history to play in his 1,300 NHL games with one franchise. He also became the youngest to do so at 35 years and 143 days, topping the previous which was held by legendary Devils defenseman Scott Stevens (35 years, 247 days) ... Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov registered his first career point with an assist on Desjardins' goal ... Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev was out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury and fellow blue-liner Frank Corrado missed a second straight game with an illness ... The two teams will meet again in Vancouver on March 3.