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Patrick Marleau slashed in from the point to deposit this backhand past Vancouver's Curtis Sanford in San Jose's 5-2 victory. ((Tony Avelar/Associated Press))

This was a game director Stephen Spielberg would have loved.

Lulling the tired Vancouver Canucks into a stupor, the San Jose Sharks struck without warning on five occasions on the way to a 5-2 victory on Thursday night.

Building a 3-0 lead and then watching it slip away to just one goal early in the third, the Sharks (17-9-4) took advantage of two horrendous Vancouver turnovers to put the game away.

This was the Canucks' third contest in four nights, their fifth on the road over the last six, and more proof the NHL schedule maker has a rotten sense of humour.

Especially when you consider Vancouver (17-12-3) will have played seven of eight on the road by the time they get home following a game Saturday in Edmonton.

Jaws jokes are always close at hand whenever the Sharks play, but this time the reference fit.

Take the first period, where the teams sat around the neutral zone passing the puck back and forth for almost 12 minutes before, on a power play, San Jose's Milan Michalek suddenly slashed in from the point, zipped around the defence and put one by a startled Curtis Sanford in the Canucks net.

It was his 10th of the season.

Back the teams went to the neutral zone as the waters calmed until, inside the final minute, Patrick Marleau streaked in from the left side and around the defence (same play, different side) and this time used a backhand to fool Sanford.

By then the Vancouver goalie must have been wondering when Roberto Luongo might be coming back from the injury that has kept him out of the net for two games.

Shots in the first were 6-4.

Second period, more of the same. Not much happened until Joe Pavelski picked up a pass at the high slot and zipped one by Sanford for 3-0.

Sanford had been 4-1 as a backup, but he was hauled into the boat and replaced by rookie Drew MacIntyre, making his first NHL appearance.

Shots in the second were 7-6.

Off to the third when the Canucks, apparently realizing that killer whale on the front of the jersey meant they could do some quick damage too, crawled back to within a goal thanks to markers by Henrik Sedin and Matt Cooke (a bouncy thing that rolled down Evgeni Nabokov's leg).

Sharks hit quickly

But the Sharks struck again with a pair within 60 seconds of each other and it was over.

The first was a Joe Thornton effort after he picked off an ill-advised pass by Aaron Miller. The second came was an early Christmas gift from Lukas Krajicek to Steve Bernier after a giveaway on the lip of the crease.

Canucks have been playing excellent hockey as of late and the road seemed to catch up with them on this night.

They'll be hoping this was a one-time showing of a disaster film and it'll be back to the regular feature on Saturday against the Oilers.