Brown couldn’t believe his luck when he stepped out of the box, scooped up a loose puck that got behind the Vancouver defence, and scored on a short-handed breakaway that iced the game in a 6-4 victory for the Sharks.
“It was a bad feeling sitting in there,” said Brown, who picked up his second goal of the season. “It’s not too many times you get out of the penalty box and the puck squirts out to you.
“I was in the right place in the right time.”
The loss spoiled the Canucks home-opening game of the season and exposed some of Vancouver’s weaknesses. The Sharks were stronger and faster. They outshot Vancouver 37-26, created turnovers and took advantage of their scoring chances.
“I think that was probably our worst effort of the season,” said captain Markus Naslund, who scored his 300th goal as a Canuck, tying him with Trevor Linden as the franchise’s all-time goal scorer.
“Most of the game we got out-competed and that can’t happen. We’re not that good that we can just rely on guys scoring.
“We didn’t make good decisions and gave them way too many opportunities by turning the puck over.”
Vancouver managed to keep the Sharks high-scoring line of Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo and Mark Smith off the scoresheet, but the rest of the team showed it had some teeth.
Patrick Marleau, with his first of the season, Patrick Rissmiller, Ville Nieminen, Mike Grier and Christian Ehrhoff got the other San Jose goals. Milan Michalek added a pair of assists as the Sharks improved their record to 4-1-0.
Defenceman Kevin Bieska had a big night for the Canucks, scoring his first NHL goal on a second-period power play, and collecting two assists.
Daniel Sedin and Mattias Ohlund also scored for the Canucks, who are 2-2-1. Henrik Sedin had three assists.
“There were some funny goals out there and some bad bounces,” said Bieska, who was playing in his 44th NHL game. “There were some tough breaks.”
About the only person in the crowd of 18,630 who went home happy was the woman who won the $155,133.00 in the game’s 50-50 draw. The prize included unclaimed money from last season.
Most of the Canuck scoring has come from the top line of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with Naslund.
Second-line centre Brendan Morrison earned his first assist of the season while free-agent forward Jan Bulis picked up his first point with an assist.
“We’re going to hear about it until the cows come home,” said Morrison. “We have to generate more (goals.)
“We got a couple of chances but it doesn’t matter if you have chances. You have to score.”
Ohlund’s goal late in the third drew the Canucks to within one again. But Grier killed any chance of a comeback, beating Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo on a breakaway.
Luongo, who came to the Canucks from Florida in the Todd Bertuzzi trade, didn’t have a stellar night. He looked weak on Grier’s goal and the Sharks scored time times goals on rebounds.
“It’s disappointing to the fans on our first game of the season,” said Luongo.
It also was a tough night for rookie defenceman Luc Bourdon. He was beaten by Marleau on the first goal, then was guilty of a turnover that led to Rissmiller scoring.
He finished the night minus-2 in 4:41 of ice time.
The Sharks desperately were trying to avoid a repeat of the previous night where they lost 6-4 to Oilers in Edmonton after leading 4-1 at one point.
“It was good for us, how disappointed we were the way we played in the third last night,” said Grier, who scored his first goal of the season.
“The guys dug in and we hung on. It was a good building block.”
Notes: The Canucks wore their vintage blue, white and green jerseys with the hockey stick on the front for the home-opener. … Defenceman Sami Salo missed the game with a groin injury and is listed as day-to-day. … Centre Marc Chouinard, who missed the first four games with a sprained shoulder, made his Canuck debut.