NHL

Canucks try to extend lead over Sharks in Game 2

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The Sports Network
5/18/2011 4:18:55 PM
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(Sports Network) The top-seeded Vancouver Canucks will try to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals tonight when they host the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 at Rogers Arena.

Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson, who has one goal and two assists this postseason, will miss Game 2 with a lower-body injury and will not make the trip to San Jose for Games 3 and 4. The veteran Swede has sat out Vancouver's last two games and Samuelsson hasn't skated since suffering the injury in Game 5 against Nashville.

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The Canucks won a close battle in the series opener on Sunday, beating the visiting Sharks by a 3-2 score. It marked the seventh straight Game 1 victory for Vancouver, which last lost the first game of a series against Anaheim in the 2007 Western Conference semifinals.

Vancouver, which won the Presidents' Trophy this year, was trailing San Jose by a 2-1 score heading into the third period before getting a pair of quick goals from Kevin Bieksa and Henrik Sedin.

Bieksa tied the contest at 7:02 of the third and Sedin's game-winning power- play goal came just 79 seconds later.

Sedin also had an assist for the Canucks, giving him 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in this year's playoffs. Henrik's twin brother and linemate Daniel has six goals and four assists in the postseason, but was pointless in Game 1.

"We're here to score goals and produce. That's tough do in the playoffs," Henrik Sedin said. "I think a lot of games we played well and had our chances but pucks haven't gone our way. Tonight we started out being minus-1 after the first two. That's a tough start but we battled back."

Maxim Lapierre also lit the lamp for Vancouver, which got 27 saves from Roberto Luongo.

Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have never made the Stanley Cup Finals and own a dismal 2-9 record in 11 all-time conference finals games. The Sharks lost in six games to Calgary in the 2004 West finals and were swept last year by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.

Patrick Marleau also scored for San Jose and Antti Niemi turned aside 35-of-38 shots in defeat.

The Sharks are in the conference finals for a third time in club history after ousting Detroit in seven games in the last round.

Vancouver beat Nashville in six games to reach the conference finals for the first time since 1994, when they beat Toronto for the Western Conference title before losing to the New York Rangers in seven games.

Meanwhile, Sharks defenseman Jason Demers is questionable after sitting out Game 1 with an undisclosed injury. Veteran blueliner Kent Huskins took Demers' place in the opener, marking his first playoff appearance this season.

San Jose, which will host the next two games of this series, is 4-3 as the guest in these playoffs and had a 23-14-4 road record this season.

The Canucks were 27-9-5 as the host during the regular season and are 5-3 at Rogers Arena in the playoffs.

Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night at San Jose's HP Pavilion.

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