The Vancouver Canucks have dropped both games at home in their Western Conference quarterfinal, losing Game 2 in painful fashion Friday night at Roger Arena after Raffi Torres scored in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 win.
Torres pulled it off 5:31 into overtime on a nifty conversion of a 2-on-1 created by Brent Burns, a Sharks defenseman-turned-forward:
Sudden death is always a cruel way to go, but it was particularly painful for the Canucks because they had come back in this game and were 55 seconds from tying the series.
Instead, with Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi pulled for a sixth attacker in the final minute of regulation, Patrick Marleau converted on a rebound after Dan Boyle's shot to the net was blocked and caromed right to Marleau's stick, where he slipped it by Canucks goalie Robert Luongo.
The Canucks, so close to preventing this series from getting really scary as it moves to San Jose, rebounded and managed four shots in overtime. But Torres' shot, the Sharks fourth of overtime, put an end to the night.
Facing the prospect of falling behind in the series 2-0 at home, the Canucks had come out surprisingly slowly, only managing four shots in the first period. They steadily got better as the game wore on and took advantage of a favorable no-goal call to keep the Sharks' second-period lead at 1-0.
Ryan Kesler scored two third-period goals to turn the game around and put the Canucks in position to tie the series before Marleau put an end to those dreams and silenced the home fans.
Game 3 in the series is Sunday night.
Before the game we pondered three questions. How are we doing with those now that the dust has settled?
1. Roberto Luongo's not going to be the problem again, right?
Setting the record straight: Luongo was just fine in Game 1 of this series. He made 25 saves, many of them of high quality, and really wasn't to blame on the San Jose goals. Friday, he still wasn't the problem, stopping 27 shots.
2. But will we still blame him if the Canucks lose anyway?
You betcha! Why didn't he stop Marleau's tying goal? (OK, it was an unexpected rebound off his defenseman.) Well why didn't he stop the game-winner? (OK, it was a well-played 2-on-1.) Luongo also stopped an early Sharks scramble in overtime that threatened to end the game sooner.
3. Something's wrong with Ryan Kesler, isn't there?
In Game 1, Kesler was a minus-1 with two shots and looked off. In Game 2, he was the reason the Canucks had a chance to win. His two goals gave them a lead they held until the 60th minute.