SAN JOSE -- Make it eight straight wins for the Sharks over the Vancouver Canucks.
San Jose opened its season with a 4-1 win over its now Pacific Division rival, after winning all seven regular season and playoff games in 2013. It was the Sharks’ fourth straight win in a season opener.
Trailing 1-0 after the first, the Sharks took a lead they would not relinquish with a pair of second period goals.
First, it was Brent Burns getting San Jose’s first of the season. Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl pressured Jason Garrison into a turnover in the neutral zone, and Hertl fed Burns streaking into onto the offensive. Burns’ wrist shot found space above Roberto Luongo’s shoulder at 9:04.
Justin Braun’s floater from the point appeared to deflect with 1:53 to go in the second, and the Sharks had their first lead of the night. The goal was Braun’s first in 86 combined regular season and playoff games.
After killing off minor penalties Braun and James Sheppard in the third, the Sharks put the game away with a pair of late scores. Logan Couture stripped Chris Higgins and fed Patrick Marleau at 14:39, and Tommy Wingels converted on a two-on-none rush with Andrew Desjardins at 15:57.
The Sharks squandered a prime opportunity in the second period with the game tied 1-1, when Garrison and Ryan Kesler were called for minors at 8:23. San Jose was unable to capitalize on the full two minute, two-man advantage, though.
Burns and Garrison factored into the first goal at 9:04 of the first period. Burns was called for slashing, leading to a one-time Garrison bomb that cleanly beat Antti Niemi.
Couture was the only Sharks player with a multiple-point night, recording a pair of assists.
The Sharks improved to 8-10-4 all-time in season opening games, including a 6-5-2 at home.
Despite looking dangerous early, the Sharks’ power play finished 0-for-8 and looked progressively worse as the game went on.
Conversely, the penalty killing got much better after Garrison’s goal, and the Sharks killed off five of six Vancouver advantages.
Niemi stopped 21 Vancouver shots, including getting his right pad on a Higgins attempt from close range midway through the third when the Sharks were nursing a 2-1 lead.
Luongo was spectacular in the first period, stopping all 16 Sharks shots he saw and preserving a 1-0 Vancouver lead. His best saves came on a Joe Pavelski breakaway with 5:30 left in the frame, and later he stopped a Hertl deflection from close range on a shot from Burns.
He couldn’t keep it up, though, and allowed four goals on 35 Sharks shots.
Hertl and Matt Nieto made their respective NHL debuts in the game. Hertl’s assist on Burns’ goal was the 19-year-old’s first point in the League. The rookies became the first Sharks players to play for the club that are younger than the franchise.
Tyler Kennedy made his Sharks debut after coming over in a trade with Pittsburgh in the offseason. Kennedy skated on the wing with Couture and Marleau.
Brad Stuart (lower body) and Adam Burish (lower body) did not play.
John Tortorella coached his first game with Vancouver.
The Sharks continue a three-game homestand with Phoenix on Saturday and the New York Rangers on Tuesday. They visit Vancouver on Thursday, Oct. 10, in their first road match.