(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks will try to even the best-of-seven Western Conference finals today, when they host the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 at HP Pavilion.
The Canucks won the first two games of this series on home ice, but the second-seeded Sharks cut their series deficit to 2-1 with a victory in Friday's Game 3 in San Jose.
The Sharks led Friday's game by a 3-0 score after one period, but had to hold on for the 4-3 win. Patrick Marleau scored twice in the first period and assisted on the eventual game-winner in the third to help the Sharks survive.
Dan Boyle's goal in the third period proved to be the decider while Joe Thornton assisted on three goals for the Sharks.
Ryane Clowe also scored in the first period while Antti Niemi stopped 27 shots for the Sharks, who will look to even the series today before it shifts back to Vancouver for Tuesday's Game 5.
"We were much better in all areas of the game than we were in Vancouver," said San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. "We skated hard and came out with an intensity I haven't seen in a while from this team. We'll see if we can replicate that on Sunday afternoon."
Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa and Alexandre Burrows all scored in the third period for the Canucks. Vancouver has outscored San Jose by a whopping 9-2 margin in the third period this series.
Roberto Luongo let in all four goals on 38 shots for the Canucks.
The game did feature a controversial hit, as San Jose forward Jamie McGinn took a major and misconduct for boarding with 8:38 left in the game when he slammed Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome into the boards in the deep right side of the Vancouver end.
"Well, if I was Aaron Rome, I'd be upset right now," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault. "But I know that they got the right call on the ice. We'll see what happens."
Rome and fellow defenseman Christian Ehrhoff are both doubtful for today's game thanks to hits by McGinn. Rome suffered a head injury on the play that resulted in the boarding penalty and Ehrhoff was knocked out earlier in Friday's contest on a clean check by McGinn. Ehrhoff's ailment is believed to be a shoulder injury. Keith Ballard and Andrew Alberts will likely fill in for Rome and Ehrhoff should they sit out today.
McGinn, meanwhile, escaped further punishment for his hit on Rome. He had a disciplinary hearing with the league on Saturday, but the NHL has decided not to suspend or fine McGinn.
On the injury front for San Jose, defenseman Jason Demers is questionable after sitting out all three games of this series with an undisclosed injury. Veteran blueliner Kent Huskins has skated in Demers' place and he may be needed again today.
Thanks to Friday's win, San Jose improved to 3-10 all-time in conference final 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.
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.
The Canucks were 27-10-4 as the guest during the regular season and are 4-3 as the road team in the playoffs. If they claim today's road game they will have a shot end this series Tuesday on home ice.
The Sharks are 5-3 on home ice in this postseason after posting a 25-11-5 record at the Shark Tank during the regular campaign.