Joe Pavelski

Discuss: Sharks beat Canucks, can sweep Tuesday

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The brooms will be out Tuesday in San Jose after the Sharks blew out the Canucks, 5-2, Sunday at HP Pavilion.

San Jose now leads the first-round series, 3-0, and will try not to look past Vancouver before finishing the job in Game 4.

For the Canucks, it’s almost eery how similar the 2013 playoffs have been to last year, when they went out in five to the Kings in the first round. In both series, goalie Roberto Luongo got the start in the first two games — at home against a lower seed — and lost twice. Also in both series, Cory Schneider came in for Game 3 on the road, but couldn’t turn the tide.

Granted, like last year, goaltending hasn’t been the biggest issue for Vancouver. The Canucks just can’t score anymore.

Some discussion points:

—- Fun fact for Sharks fans: the last three teams to beat the Canucks in the playoffs won the Stanley Cup.

—- Fun fact II for Sharks fans: Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau scored twice in nine seconds in the third period, but it wasn’t the fastest two goals in San Jose playoff history. The club record is eight seconds, by John MacLean and Ron Sutter in 1998.

— Not only did Couture finish with two goals and two assists, he was practically unbeatable in the faceoff circle.

—- Is Joe Pavelski the best third-line center in the NHL right now? They used to say that about Jordan Staal when he was in Pittsburgh, but then he was traded to Carolina. Pavelski had San Jose’s first two goals in Game 3, both on neat redirects.

—- Schneider was pulled after allowing five goals, including three in the opening minutes of the third period. Who will get the nod for the Canucks on Tuesday? Does it even matter?

—- Is there any way head coach Alain Vigneault keeps his job if the Canucks lose to San Jose, which it appears they will? If he’s fired, would it be the right call, or is it general manager Mike Gillis who deserves the blame for the team’s failings the past two years? Is a major roster shakeup required, or do they give it one more year with the current group? The Sedins have one more year remaining on their contracts before they can become unrestricted free agents.

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Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.