Pavelski, Hertl lead Sharks over Canucks 4-1
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Late collapses have been a common problem for the Vancouver Canucks.
Well, add another to the lengthy list.
Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl scored 2:28 apart in the third period Sunday as the San Jose Sharks downed Vancouver 4-1 to hand the Canucks their 10th loss in a game they led after 40 minutes.
''We did play decent for two periods, but like a lot of times this season ... in the third, it's kind of like a different team goes out there,'' Vancouver defenseman Luca Sbisa said. ''It's a disappointing feeling.''
Patrick Marleau and Justin Braun, into an empty net, had the other goals for the Sharks, while Martin Jones made 23 saves. Marc-Edouard Vlasic added two assists, with Pavelski and Braun picking up one each for San Jose.
''We knew the importance of the game and I thought we were OK for the most part,'' Jones said. ''We just didn't have a lot of jump and we kind of gave away a lot of pucks when we had full control, but in the third, we really stepped it up.''
Daniel Sedin replied for the Canucks, who were looking to win three in a row for the first time this season. Ryan Miller made 24 saves, but Vancouver fell to an NHL-worst 14-3-7 when leading after two periods.
''That shouldn't happen,'' Sedin said. ''I don't want to say it's because we have a young team. We can do it for most parts of the game.''
San Jose sits in third place in the Pacific Division, 12 points up on the fading Canucks, who are eight back of the Colorado Avalanche for the Western Conference's second wild-card spot.
''I don't think we were happy with our game (through two periods),'' Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. ''Credit to Vancouver. I thought they played a really good first 40 minutes. They bottled us up. We didn't have a lot of energy, we weren't creating much.
''We just talked about the importance of these two points. We didn't want to give them any life in the standings.''
Trailing 1-0 after 40 minutes, the Sharks tied it at 4:21 of the third when Pavelski stepped around Sbisa before beating Miller for his 27th of the season.
San Jose then grabbed the lead at 6:49 when Hertl tipped Braun's point shot past a helpless Miller for his 15th.
Vancouver's Adam Cracknell rang a shot off the iron behind Jones a couple of minutes later, but San Jose sealed it when Marleau ripped a one-timer on a 5-on-3 power play with 5:51 left for his 18th.
Braun added one more into an empty net with just over a minute to go.
''Times like this, every game for us is a Game 7,'' Sbisa said. ''It's a must-win if you want to stay in the (playoff) race.''
After a scoreless first period, Vancouver opened the scoring at 3:03 of the second moments after a Sharks penalty expired when Sedin jammed a puck past Jones from the side of the net for his 23rd.
''If you have a lead, teams are hungry,'' Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins said. ''It seems like we're just not quite able to hold it.''
In a scheduling quirk, Sunday's game was the first between the Sharks and Canucks this season. The clubs play again Thursday in Vancouver and Saturday in San Jose before another back-to-back on March 29 and 31.
With the NHL trade deadline set for Monday at 3 p.m. ET, veteran defenseman Dan Hamhuis suited up for Vancouver in what could have been his final game for the Canucks. The 33-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and has a no-movement clause in his contract, but has indicated he would consider a move if it was the right situation.
NOTES: The Canucks have won two games in a row seven times this season. ... Vancouver D Matt Bartkowski sat out with the flu. ... Canucks F Radim Vrbata, also set to become an unrestricted free agent, missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. ... San Jose hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, while Vancouver continues a five-game homestand on Tuesday against the New York Islanders.