Sharks Vs. Canucks, Game 5: Vancouver Wins In Double Overtime, Earns Stanley Cup Finals Berth

Thanks to a bizarre game winner by Kevin Bieksa, the Vancouver Canucks are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals after defeating the San Jose Sharks in double overtime to take the series 4-1.

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Sharks Vs. Canucks, Game 5: Joe Thornton Played With Separated Shoulder

The San Jose Sharks may have lost Game 5 of the Western Conference Final to the Vancouver Canucks. Their season might be over and a feeling of what could have been might be wafting through the air in the Bay Area on this day-after.

One thing is for sure, though: Joe Thornton can't have any regrets. The Sharks captain left everything on the ice on Tuesday night, and while we knew he had an ailing shoulder prior to the game, we didn't know just how bad it was.

"I just separated my shoulder last game, that's it," Thornton said after Game 5. "It was sore, but no excuses."

Thornton put in 32:15 of ice time, behind on Patrick Marleau on the Sharks for the game, who finished with 32:58. He led all players with seven shots on goal and, incredibly, he also won 56 percent of his face-offs (with a separated shoulder!). He'll probably ponder the lost draw in the defensive end with about 25 seconds left in the third, because if he wins that and the Sharks control the puck, we're probably talking about Game 6.

But, that's hockey. Thornton has nothing to be ashamed of after that performance. 

For more on the NHL's Western Conference Final, check in with our Sharks vs. Canucks series hub, as well as our blogs: Fear The Fin covering the Sharks and Nucks Misconduct covering the Canucks. You can find more local coverage at SB Nation Bay Area and Battle of California.

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Sharks Vs. Canucks: Vancouver Takes Advantage Of Lucky Bounces In Series-Clinching Win

In a moment of chaos, the puck fell directly to Kevin Bieksa's stick as the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks were deadlocked in double-overtime. A fluke bounce off the boards came straight to Bieksa at the point and as players from both teams threw their hands up and wondered where the puck went, he unleashed a shot on net. Antti Niemi never had a chance and as the puck hit the back of the net, leaving the players, announcers and fans in attendance dumbfounded as Game 5 and the Western Conference Finals suddenly came to an end.

The fact Vancouver even made it to double-overtime took a bit of luck, and another odd bounce, in the first place. Trailing by one and with time winding down in regulation, the referees missed a deflection at center-ice that would have negated a late icing on the Sharks. It was nearly impossible to see on replay, but setup the game-tying goal as the Canucks drew a face-off in the San Jose end. With 13 seconds to go, Ryan Kesler beat Niemi, tying the game and forcing overtime.

It was just one of those nights where the puck bounced the right way for Vancouver. And 17 years to the day after the Canucks secured their last trip to the Stanley Cup Finals -- with a double-overtime, Game 5 win -- they were back. Call it a fluke, call it fate or call it being in the right place at the right time. Whatever you call it, the Canucks, and their NHL-best regular season record, are four wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup after one of the more bizarre games in recent memory.

For more on the NHL's Western Conference Final, check in with our Sharks vs. Canucks series hub, as well as our blogs: Fear The Fin covering the Sharks and Nucks Misconduct covering the Canucks. You can find more local coverage at SB Nation Bay Area and Battle of California.

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Sharks Vs. Canucks Final Score, Game 5: Kevin Bieksa's Bizarre Goal Nets Vancouver Stanley Cup Finals Berth

Hockey is absolutely amazing. It is also, perhaps, the most random and unfair sport in the world. It looked as if the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks were headed for a third overtime in their Game 5 thriller, but thanks to an absurd bounce and a Kevin Bieksa goal, the Canucks are through to the Stanley Cup finals after winning in double overtime by a final score of 3-2.

The game winning goal was one of the most bizarre goals you'll ever see, and when you watch the video at full speed, it appears to defy the laws of physics. Mason Raymond played the puck off the boards, and to all but one person on the ice, the puck appeared to go out of play. Instead, the puck hit a tiny spot between two panels of the glass above the boards, bouncing backwards towards the blue line instead of out of play behind the goal, where everyone thought the puck went. It fell to Bieksa who took a fairly weak shot, but due to the fact that everyone on the ice didn't know the puck was still in play, Antti Niemi was caught completely off guard and the puck bounced into the back of the net.

As the light came on and the horn sounded for a goal, the Canucks players celebrated while the Sharks players looked confused, the announcers sounded confused, the officials consulted and confetti rained down. In the midst of this confusion, with no one knowing how the puck ever got to Bieksa, there was some feeling that the goal might get called back. However, there was obviously nothing illegal about the goal, and as a result, it stood.

Interestingly enough, the Vancouver Canucks also clinched a Stanley Cup finals berth 17 years ago on this very day, winning in...drumroll...double overtime! May 24 will now be a day that is sacred in the history of the Canucks.

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Sharks Vs. Canucks, Game 5: First Overtime Isn't Enough To Decide Game

The Canucks and Sharks are making the most of the only overtime game thus far in this series as the first overtime period wasn't enough to decide the game. 

The Canucks started the period trying to end it quickly, getting a couple solid chances within the first couple of minutes but couldn't solve Antti Niemi. The Sharks then controlled most of the rest of the first overtime period as they outshot the Canucks 16-9 in the first overtime. 

Roberto Luongo has been the star of the game thus far as he has made 50 saves thus far in this game. Besides his guffaw that led to the Sharks getting a lead in the third period, Luongo has kept the Canucks in this game. Antti Niemi has 27 saves at the opposite end of the rink. 

There is only one Sharks player that doesn't have a shot on goal and that is Jamie McGinn. Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley leads all Sharks players with six shots on goal each while Daniel Sedin has five shots on goal for the Vancouver Canucks

This game has to have a winner, the question is whether that could happen by noon tomorrow. 

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Sharks Vs. Canucks, Game 5: Ryan Kesler Forces Overtime With 14 Seconds Left

The Vancouver Canucks had the chance to celebrate their 17th anniversary of their last Stanley Cup Finals berth with a win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 and Ryan Kesler kept that belief alive with his game tying goal with 14 seconds left on the clock. 

The Canucks started the scoring with an Alex Burrows goal at the 8:02 mark of the first period after the Sedin twins cycled the puck nicely to Burrows in front of the net. Daniel Sedin made a behind the back, between the legs pass to brother Henrik who then found Burrows alone in front of the net. 

The Sharks tied the game with a Patrick Marleau goal at the 9:57 mark of the second period. Marleau got a piece of a Dan Boyle shot that was then ultimately deflected off the hand of Kevin Bieksa and into the net. Joe Pavelski recorded the other assist on the goal. 

Devin Setoguchi gave the Sharks their first lead of the game at the 24 second mark of the period on a miscue by goaltender Roberto Luongo. Luongo was facing a two on one situation and came out to swipe the puck away from the Sharks forward. He missed the puck and it ended up on the stick of Setoguchi who put it in the wide open net.

Ryan Kesler forced overtime as he scores the game-tying goal with 14 seconds left in the third period. Kesler at one point was suffering from an apparent leg injury and didn't appear that he was going to return to the game, but this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs and everyone plays hurt.

The Sharks outshot the Canucks 36-20 through the regulation period and Roberto Luongo has had a solid game with 34 saves through the first three periods. San Jose's Antti Niemi has 18 saves at the opposite end. 

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Sharks Vs. Canucks, Game 5: Patrick Marleau Ties Game For San Jose In Elimination Game

The San Jose Sharks are not going to slink off into the night as they have tied the game at one after forty minutes in their elimination game against the Vancouver Canucks. 

The Sharks tied the game on the power play at the 9:57 mark of the period on a Patrick Marleau goal that was deflected off of Kevin Bieksa's hand and into the net. The Canucks power play seemed confused as Ryan Kesler was injured a few seconds before the goal was scored. Kesler headed back to the Canucks dressing room with an apparent leg injury. Kesler tested the leg later in the period, but his return is uncertain at this point. 

The Sharks offense has continued to outshoot the Canucks, with a 10-6 advantage in the second period and 25-12 advantage in the game. Luongo has played a masterful game thus far with 24 saves in the game while his counterpart in Antti Niemi has 11 saves on the night. 

This game is far from over as the final twenty minutes or more has to decide a winner. 

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Sharks Vs. Canucks, Game 5: Alex Burrows Gives Vancouver 1-0 Lead After First Period

It was 17 years ago to the day that the Vancouver Canucks clinched their last Stanley Cup Final berth. The Canucks are well on their way to doing that with a 1-0 first period lead in Game 5. 

Alex Burrows got the scoring kicked off for the Canucks at the 8:02 mark of the first period as he was the receipient of two nice passes by the Sedin twins. Daniel Sedin started the play with a between the legs pass to brother Henrik who flipped it to Burrows in front of the net. 

Each team has had their fair share of chances in this period. The Sharks had a five on three powerplay in which they generated at least three or four good scoring chances but Roberto Luongo made the saves necessary to keep the Sharks scoreless on the power play. 

The Sharks have completely outshot the Canucks 15-6 in the first period. Luongo has stood on his head thus far in the period in making all 16 saves in the period while Antti Niemi has five saves on six shots. 

The question heading into the second period is whether Luongo can continue this pace to keep the Sharks shutout. 

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Sharks Vs. Canucks, Game 5: Vancouver Hopes To Win West, Advance To Stanley Cup Final

This postseason, in games in which they can eliminate an opponent, the Vancouver Canucks are 2-4. A losing record. Not good at all. So tonight, as they host the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, the idea that they'll easily push their opponent aside and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals is less than a certainty. 

Of course, when their opponent is a team like San Jose with less-than-stellar mental fortitude, it kind of makes things even more of a toss-up from that perspective. It's even a toss-up on the injury front when it comes to determining which team has an edge.

You'd think the Sharks would have the advantage, since Joe Thornton will definitely play Game 5 despite a shoulder injury and the Canucks are still without Aaron Rome and Christian Ehrhoff. But Vancouver was able to win Game 4 just fine without those two, and we have no idea how effective Thornton will be tonight with his ailment.

He says he's 100 percent. He's not 100 percent. We'll see what happens. 

The task for the Sharks really is quite simple. They have to win three games in a row to keep their season going and to keep the dream of a Stanley Cup alive for another few weeks. Our Sharks blog, Fear The Fin, thinks they can use the experience of a long, tough season to get them through.

That six game losing streak in the middle of January parallels the struggles they are going through right now. It's disheartening that those traits have resurfaced at this time of year of course, something I'm sure Todd McLellan and his coaching staff are none too pleased to see. Adversity loses its power when it's self-inflicted. It becomes easy to think about what could have been instead of what must be done.

The thing is, that six-game losing streak mentality is what arguably got San Jose here in the first place-- if they don't hit rock bottom in January who knows where they end up. In some grand and optimistic way, seeing those traits now is probably the only positive this team can take out of a 3-1 series deficit against the Presidents' Trophy winners. It provides a blueprint for where they need to go from here, a map for these tumultuous seas they have traveled once before with weary hearts and minds.

For more on the NHL's Western Conference Final, check in with our Sharks vs. Canucks series hub, as well as our blogs: Fear The Fin covering the Sharks and Nucks Misconduct covering the Canucks. You can find more local coverage at SB Nation Bay Area and Battle of California.

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