SAN JOSE – The Canucks promptly rattled off three straight wins after falling to the Sharks in last week’s season opener.
Against the Sharks on Thursday night at Rogers Arena, they went right back to their losing ways against San Jose, falling 4-1. The Sharks improved to a perfect 4-0-0, beating the Canucks for the ninth straight time, including regular season and playoffs.
Playing in their road opener, the Sharks led 2-0 after the first period, but Mike Santorelli’s redirection past Antti Niemi cut the lead in half at 10:20 of the second.
San Jose, though, did what good teams find a way to do, and quickly answered. Tyler Kennedy, from behind the net, spotted Patrick Marleau in the circle and fed the fellow winger. Marleau quickly released a one-timer past Roberto Luongo to give the Sharks their two-goal cushion back just one minute and 35 seconds after Santorelli’s marker.
The game stayed that way until Brent Burns put it away with an empty-net goal at 17:41 of the third period, to make it 4-1 and cap the scoring.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Matt Pelech scored in the first period. Vlasic’s wrist shot from the high slot on a feed from Brent Burns staked the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 12:16, and Pelech’s tip from James Sheppard in the final minute of the first was the tough guy’s first career NHL goal.
Pelech, who is Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis’ nephew, was recalled from Worcester on Monday. He played in the season opener against the bigger Vancouver lineup before he was reassigned back to the AHL.
The Sharks now have 21 goals, the most they’ve scored in four games to start the season in franchise history . The previous high was 19, set last season.
Late in the second period, Edler seemed to make contact with rookie Tomas Hertl’s head on an attempted check along the boards. Hertl, who was hunched over a bit to play the puck, didn’t seem to show any negative attempts from the hit, which could potentially get reviewed by the league.
Joe Thornton and Logan Couture each had two assists. Vancouver fell to 3-2-0.
The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play, after scoring four power play goals in their last seven in the last two games.
The Canucks remained perfect on the penalty kill, and have not allowed a power play goal in 18 opponent power plays.
Vancouver failed on its only power play when Tommy Wingels was called for a high-sticking minor at 14:21 of the first period.
Niemi has started and finished all four games, and recorded his fourth win with 24 saves.
His best stops came on an Edler blast from the top of the circle six minutes into the game on Vancouver’s first shot, and a wraparound attempt by Henrik Sedin in the second when he flashed his left pad on a shot that Sedin didn’t quite get all of.
Luongo, starting for the fourth time in five games, lost for the second time, both to the Sharks. He allowed three goals on 28 shots.
Scott Hannan returned after a one-game absence, playing alongside Jason Demers. Brad Stuart served the first of a three-game suspension for hitting New York’s Rick Nash with a check to the head on Tuesday.
The Sharks return home to play Ottawa on Saturday, and visit St. Louis and Dallas next week. San Jose began a stretch of eight road games out of 10.