SAN JOSE, Calif. – Joe Pavelski knew the game was going to get intense. He didn’t realize it would happen so early.
Pavelski had two goals, Patrick Marleau scored again—though only once—and the undefeated San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Sunday.
The game became feisty even before the puck dropped as Ryan Clowe and Alexandre Burrows got into it at centre ice and it remained that way.
“We know there is a lot of stake when we play them,” Pavelski said. “The intensity was set . . . I’d like to stay at the first puck drop but it was before that. That’s the first time I’ve seen something like that.”
Joe Thornton also scored for the Sharks, who improved to 5-0-0. Antti Niemi made 23 saves as coach Todd McLellan earned his 200th career victory.
“We were ready to go. I think that Clowie getting us going early was huge for us,” Thornton said. “Every game against these guys is just a really, super competitive game, and I think we saw that again. Both teams are engaged early.”
Marleau scored two goals in each of the first four games of the season, becoming the first NHL player to do that since 1917.
“It would have been nice to keep it going,” Marleau said. “But I got a lucky one tonight and I’ll take it.”
Burrows scored for the Canucks, who had a three-game unbeaten streak end. Cory Schneider also stopped 23 shots.
“We obviously dislike each other,” Burrows said. “We’ve seen them in the playoffs a couple of years ago. They’re a Western Conference rival and they make for good games.”
Clowe tied a Sharks record with eight penalties, all in the first two periods, and a career-high 35 penalty minutes.
Fights between Clowe and Zack Kassian in the first period and Douglas Murray and Aaron Volpatti in the third were lengthy and bloody.
“We’re not happy about the penalties and that’s all I am going to say,” McLellan said. “I owe Ryan Clowe my conversation. I have a lot of respect for him. I am happy we won with a good, gritty effort.”
Pavelski, Marleau and Thornton have each recorded points in the first five games for the Sharks
Thornton put the Sharks on the scoreboard 43 seconds into the contest, intercepting a pass from Jason Garrison in front of the net and beating Schneider.
Pavelski also stole a pass late in the first and scored. He caught Alexander Elder’s pass, also in front of the net.
“I just happened to be there,” Pavelski said. “I think he was trying to get some wings on it and I happened to get it.”
Burrows scored midway through the second period. His shot bounced off Niemi’s pads and then deflected off the back of Dan Boyle’s skates and into the net.
“We made a few mistakes there that ended up in the back of net,” Burrows said. “But I think we bounced back pretty good. We had some chances. We had some looks, we hit some posts. At the end of the day we have to score some goals on our power play.”
Marleau, who scored his ninth goal of the season, also got a lucky bounce. Boyle’s shot hit off Marleau’s skate and went into the net.
“I felt something hit my foot but I was just standing there,” Marleau said. “I’m just trying to be in front of the net when shots are coming and creating havoc.”
Pavelski added another goal midway through the third.
Notes: Thornton has 46 points (12-34) points in 39 games against the Canucks. … Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault remains two wins away from 400. … Canucks LW Daniel Sedin had recorded a point in his first four games. … The Canucks were 3-0-1 against the Sharks last year. … The Sharks went 101:27 without allowing a goal.