Kevin Bieksa scored the game winning goal with 9:42 left in the second overtime to send the Canucks to their first Stanley Cup final since 1994.
The puck appeared to go out of play, but it did not. The puck went off the stanchion and right to Bieksa. Almost every player on the ice stopped, but Bieksa didn’t. He fired a weak wrist shot with nobody in front and beat Antti Niemi to start the party in Vancouver.
The Sharks dominated the game, outshooting the Canucks 56-34, but the Canucks got a huge break. But that wasn’t the biggest break of the game. In fact, the game should have been over in regulation with the Sharks winning and sending the series back to San Jose. With the Sharks up 2-1 with under a minute to go, Dan Boyle cleared the puck all the way down for some reason. It went for an icing, but replays clearly showed that the puck went off of Daniel Sedin before even exiting the Sharks’ defensive zone. The puck was touched up for an icing with under a half a minute to go. Even with the missed icing call, the Sharks had to win a defensive zone faceoff, and they didn’t. Ryan Kesler scored with 13.2 seconds left to tie the game at two.
Alex Burrows scored 8:02 into the first for the first goal of the game. After a Sharks turnover, the Sedin twins made a few great passes, and Burrows eventually got the puck and buried it. The Sharks had a two man advantage for 1:24, but Roberto Luongo came up big. The Sharks played very well in the first, outshooting the Canucks 15-6.
Patrick Marleau tied the game with a power play goal in the second. Boyle’s shot was redirected by Marleau and into the back of the net. Kesler left the game on that same shift with a lower-body injury. He did return though. The Sharks controlled the play again with a 10-6 shot advantage.
Devin Setoguchi gave the Sharks the lead just 24 seconds into the third period. Joe Pavelski made a great diving pass to Setoguchi, and he put it into the open net. Luongo came out to challenge the pass, but he couldn’t make the play. Marc-Edouard Vlasic briefly left the game after getting hit in the face with Burrows’ stick on a follow through. Vlasic was down for about ten seconds until the play was finally blown dead. He returned very quickly, which was good news for the Sharks. A missed icing call as mentioned before led to a defensive zone faceoff, which the Sharks did not win. The Canucks tied it with 13.2 seconds to go. The Sharks outshot the Canucks in the period again.
The Sharks played very well in both overtime periods up until the final two minutes of the game. The Canucks were buzzing in the offensive zone, and the Sharks could not buy a clear. San Jose had a 20-14 shot edge in the overtimes, but they did not get the goal. The Canucks did.
The Sharks fell in the Western Conference Finals for the second straight season. This was their 100th game of the season including the playoffs, which is a new franchise record. Unfortunately, it was their last. Niemi made 31 saves in the loss. It’s the first time in his NHL career that he’s lost a playoff series (6-1). Pavelski had two assists. Kent Huskins and Boyle each had an assist. Marleau and Setoguchi each scored a goal. The Sharks have scored just 22 goals in the Western Conference Finals the past two seasons, and Marleau has ten of them. Luongo showed why he is an elite goalie in the NHL, stopping 54 shots and stealing this game for the Canucks.
The Sharks used the same lineup as they used in Game 4. Joe Thornton played despite leaving Sunday’s game in the third period. It was later revealed that he played with a separated shoulder. Jason Demers skated in practice, but he did not play.
The Sharks made it further this year than last year, but they came up short. Many people thought this was their year, but it wasn’t meant to be. Like all Sharks fans say, maybe next year.