Canucks end struggles against Sharks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) — The Vancouver Canucks
finally figured out the San Jose Sharks.

Roberto Luongo made 28 saves and Mats Sundin netted the
game-winner as the Canucks snapped a seven-game losing streak
against the Western Conference foe, skating to a 3-1 victory
over the Sharks on Saturday.

“I don’t really take that much importance in that kind of
stuff,” Luongo said. “The only thing we talk about is you want
to send a message just in case we face these guys in the
playoffs and let them know it’s not going to be an easy series.”

“He played well but that isn’t a surprise,” Sharks coach Todd
McLellan said of Luongo. “It’s not alarming to anybody. He’s
going to play that way every night. To beat him, you have to go
get him and you have to find some rebounds and second
opportunities. We did that later on in the game but not
consistently enough in the first half.”

Alexander Edler and defenseman Kevin Bieksa also scored and Ryan
Kesler collected two assists for Vancouver, which has won four
straight contests.

“We’re feeling pretty good as a team right now,” Luongo said.
“We’re confident that any time we go into a game that no matter
who we’re playing that we can get the win. We played a really
solid game against a great team tonight and it was a big win for

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The Canucks, who sit in fifth place in the West, defeated the
Sharks for the first time since April 7, 2007.

Joe Thornton tallied and Brian Boucher turned aside 26 shots in
his fifth consecutive start for San Jose, which has lost four in
a row for the first time this season. Boucher was forced to
start in place of Evgeni Nabokov, who missed a second straight
game with a lower body injury.

The Sharks, however, are still tied with the Detroit Red Wings
atop the conference standings.

Edler opened the scoring at 3:15 of the first period and Sundin
forged a two-goal lead less than three minutes later. It was
Sundin’s seventh goal of the campaign.

“We kept doing the things we’ve been doing the last few weeks
here,” Sundin said. “It’s nice to get a good start, especially
playing a good team like that, you want to make sure you don’t
fall behind a few goals.”

Thornton halved the deficit with three ticks left in the middle
session, but Bieksa scored a power-play goal with 8:12 remaining
in the third to restore the two-goal bulge.

“I think it was a statement game,” Bieska said. “We’ve been
winning for the last little while but to beat a quality team
like San Jose, a team we haven’t beaten all season, is huge for
us. It’s definitely something we need going into the playoffs.”