The San Jose Sharks went into the third period trailing by a single goal, giving the Vancouver Canucks a good fight through the first 40 minutes. While some of the team’s third period struggles have been a bit overblown, that premise gained some serious credence as the Sharks absolutely unraveled in the final frame.
Ben Eager put the biggest black eye on the game with his foolish array of penalties, but Ryane Clowe had his low moments as well. Either way, the Canucks absolutely took advantage of San Jose’s lapses in discipline by scoring two power-play goals to make it 5-2 and eventually finished the game with a 7-3 win.
This game is obviously more important for the Sharks than it is for the Canucks, so the team needs to take advantage of their home crowd (and the advantages that come with having the last change) to try to turn the tide of the series. That means testing Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo more often, doing a better job of providing their own goalie Antti Niemi with better support and avoiding dumb penalties that hurt them on the scoreboard.
“Iron” Mike Keenan and Keith Jones discuss what the Sharks need to change and what the Canucks should continue to do in Game 3 of the series, which takes place at 9 p.m. ET on Versus.
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.
Brad Stuart wasn’t on the ice for the first game of his two-year, $7.2 million contract and it had nothing to do with his health.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy felt Stuart simply wasn’t one of the six best defensemen in training camp and consequently he wasn’t in the lineup, per the Denver Post.
“Things could change for the next game,” Roy offered. “Like I said (Wednesday), we’re going to use those eight D all year long. (Last night was) just the first game of the season.”
Perhaps, but it’s still a terrible indicator, especially given that Stuart will turn 36 on Nov. 6. Stuart is a veteran of over 1,000 games, but now the question is if he has enough left in the tank to provide Colorado with much value.
The Avalanche also scratched defenseman Brandon Gormley, who was acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Stefan Elliott. The hope was that both players would benefit from the change in scenery. Gormley was taken with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but has only played in 32 career NHL games.