The Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks played an intense and physical hockey game Wednesday night, each team looking like the experienced postseason players they are. After a scoreless first period in which Roberto Luongo was the star, the Canucks struck first in the second period, getting a goal on a wild scramble in front of Antti Niemi. Logan Couture would tie the score at one before the period was over, and the teams would start the third period tied.
Midway through the third, veteran defenseman Dan Boyle broke the tie, jumping on a loose puck that popped out of a scramble in front of the Vancouver net.
...and five minutes later, Patrick Marleau would drive home the dagger.
Roberto Luongo left the net in the final minute for an extra attacker for the Canucks, but Antti Niemi put on a stunning display, holding on to the lead and stopping 29 of 30 Canucks shots on the night.
Let's look at the questions we were trying to find answers to in this game:
1. Which veterans will step up?
The old guys came to play -- at least for San Jose.
36-year-old Dan Boyle scored to give the Sharks the lead in the third period. Boyle was playing in his 90th career playoff game. Then 34-year-old Patrick Marleau scored as well, playing in his 130th playoff game. It was Marleau's 53rd career playoff goal.
2. Is Cory Schneider up to the task?
3. Which Ryan Kesler are the Canucks going to get?
Kesler played more than 20 minutes, was credited with two shots and a single hit. He was visibly laboring under nagging injuries for much of the night, and his health has got to be a major concern for Vancouver as this physical series continues.