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Cullen: Henrik Sedin ignites Canucks' third period comeback

Scott Cullen
5/16/2011 12:07:00 AM
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Trailing going into the third period of Game One, the Vancouver Canucks upped the ante, scoring two goals in the final frame to overtake the San Jose Sharks.

Vancouver outshot San Jose 13-7 in the third period and the rally was sparked by Henrik Sedin, really not a moment too soon considering his struggles in this postseason.

Henrik had been held off the scoresheet in seven of the last ten games, a span during which he's been an appalling minus-11.  An even rating and two points Sunday night, then, was a nice upgrade on his recent performance.

Sedin scored the game-winner at 8:21 of the third, off a nice feed from Christian Ehrhoff on the power play, just 1:19 after defenceman Kevin Bieksa scored the tying goal following a nice setup from Alex Burrows (who picked up the puck off a chip ahead by Henrik).

On home ice, the Sedins avoided consistent defensive matchups with San Jose, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Niclas Wallin -- who weren't paired together -- were the two defencemen that saw the Sedins the most in five-on-five situations (according to www.timeonice.com). centre Joe Thornton opened the Conference Final with a strong game, scoring the Sharks' first goal and assisting on the second, recording five shots on goal. 


It was the first time in this postseason that Thornton recorded five shots on goal and, even though one of his points came on the power play and his goal was a veritable gift off a poor clearing pass by Roberto Luongo, Thornton's performance was all the more impressive considering that he is getting a steady dose of Canucks centre Ryan Kesler in this series.

Antti Niemi stopped 35 of 38 shots in the losing effort, while Roberto Luongo stopped 27 of 29 to get the win.  Strong, it not spectacular, performances at both ends.

Considering San Jose was pushed to the limit by Detroit in the previous series, perhaps it's not so surprising that they didn't have enough gas in the tank to keep up with the Canucks in Game One. 

At the same time, San Jose showed a nasty propensity for coughing up third period leads against Detroit and after doing just that against Vancouver in Game One, it's going to be awfully easy for the Canucks to summon confidence that they can rally unless the Sharks start closing down games when they have a lead in the third period.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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