Raffi Torres gives Sharks 2-0 series lead
Former Canucks forward beats Luongo in overtime
Raffi Torres scored at 5:31 of overtime to give the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarter-final series Friday night
The Sharks took a seemingly commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven games, which shifts to San Jose for the third and fourth games on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.
The Canucks suffered their sixth consecutive loss in a home playoff game. Now, they might not get another one — after securing home-ice advantage with their fifth consecutive Northwest Division title.
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, whose goal in the final minute of the third period force overtime, also scored for San Jose.
Ryan Kesler scored third-period goals for Vancouver, helping the Canucks overcome a 1-0 deficit that had stood since the first period.
"I thought we played exceptional tonight," said Kesler. "We just didn't get it done. We have to regroup and focus on Game 3. Tomorrow we will learn from this and move on."
The Sharks outshot the Canucks 33-31 as Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and San Jose's Antti Niemi waged a goaltenders' battle for most of the game.
Luongo made 30 saves while Niemi stopped 29 at the other end.
Strong special teams
Vancouver converted one of three power-play chances while San Jose was blanked on five.
The Canucks revamped their bottom-three forward lines in a bid to get more offence. Kesler, usually a centre, played right wing on the second line with Derek Roy in the middle and Chris Higgins on the left side. Kesler took faceoffs in the right circle to take advantage of his right-handed shot.
The changes had an early effect as the Canucks kept the puck in the San Jose zone for extended periods, but the good fortune would not last.
Shortly after getting hurt blocking a Jason Garrison shot, Thornton put in a rebound while falling down after Luongo stopped a Brent Burns deflection of Brad Stuart's shot.
The Sharks outshot the Canucks 10-4 in the first after rallying from the slow start.
Thornton had a chance to increase San Jose's lead on a power play early in the second period, but he hit the post with Luongo flat on his stomach. The power play resulted after Alex Burrows was called for goaltender interference in the first minute, when Justin Braun shoved him into Niemi.
San Jose had a goal disallowed at 6:08 of the second after Joe Pavelski put in his own rebound. Tommy Wingels was deemed guilty of incidental contact with Luongo as he knocked him into a post.
Luongo came up big near the midway mark as he stoned former Torres, sprawling and catching the puck after a Vancouver giveaway.
The Canucks outshot the Sharks 14-10 in the second.
Kesler created a 1-1 tie just 59 seconds into the third period as he put home a slapshot from the blue-line during a power play. The goal came 20 seconds after San Jose's Andrew Desjardins was sent off for tripping Alex Edler.
Kesler put the Canucks ahead just over seven minutes later after a San Jose giveaway. Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle passed it up the middle and it deflected off Pavelski's stick and right to Kesler alone in the high slot.
He made no mistake, ripping a slapper over Niemi's outstretched leg and blocker.
Marleau forced overtime as he poked the puck in from behind the net after his shot squeezed through Luongo's legs and came to rest just in front of the goal-line.
Just over a minute into overtime, Vancouver's Alex Edler clanked a shot off the crossbar.
With Vancouver pressing, San Jose coach Todd McLellan called a timeout with just under five minutes gone in overtime. Moments later, Torres scored on a 2-on-1 with Burns to give the Sharks the win.
"I think it shows a lot about our team," said Torres. "We give up the lead, they were playing great. They were coming at us with everything. We showed a lot of determination, a lot of perseverance."
If necessary, Game 5 will be in Vancouver on Thursday.