San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks -- Game 4

Discuss: San Jose sweeps out Vancouver with 4-3 overtime win


It took a late game scare and then some but the San Jose Sharks have swept out the Vancouver Canucks with a 4-3 victory in OT.

Patrick Marleau scored a power play goal 13:18 into overtime to give the Sharks the victory. The call that led to the man advantage wouldn’t be without controversy as Daniel Sedin was whistled for boarding Tommy Wingels in OT.  Joe Pavelski scored two goals to lead the way for San Jose including a power play goal late in the third to tie things up.

Alex Burrows led the way for Vancouver with two goals in a vastly improved effort. After a rough Game 3, Cory Schneider bounced back nicely making 43 saves in the loss.

The win gives the Sharks their first playoff sweep in franchise history and makes them the first team to move on to the second round.

Here are your talking points for this one:

— Penalties are sure to be a point of contention as the Sharks tied the game and won it thanks to two iffy calls. A cross-checking call to Kevin Bieksa late in the third led to Pavelski’s power play tally. Sedin’s penalty in OT is sure to generate a lot of heat.

— For what it’s worth, Daniel Sedin got a misconduct for abusive language after the game. Those are 10 minutes he’s probably OK with taking given the circumstances.

— What’s next for Vancouver? A potentially explosive summer. The future of GM Mike Gillis and head coach Alain Vigneault could both be up in the air. Roberto Luongo may have played his final game as a Canuck and had to take a seat the last two games, much as he did last year against the Kings. Guys like David Booth and Chris Higgins could wind up in new uniforms as well. Vancouver’s season might be over, but the drama is just beginning.

— What does San Jose do now that they’ll get nearly a week of rest before the start of the second round? They’ll root for the other three series to be destructive to everyone involved. These Sharks are going to be tough to deal with.

— Want some crazy numbers? Look at what Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Patrick Marleau did. Those three combined for 21 points in the four games against Vancouver. Pavelski finished with five goals and three assists while Couture had three goals and five assists. Marleau had four goals and an assist for himself. He’s so un-clutch.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”