Meier scores winner as Sharks beat Canucks 5-3

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The San Jose Sharks were able to pull out a win despite struggling to shake the Vancouver Canucks.

Timo Meier’s second goal of the game snapped a third-period tie and the Sharks won 5-3 on Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc each had a goal and an assist, and Tomas Hertl scored into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining for the Sharks, who are 7-2-0 in their last nine games.

”We weren’t at our best,” said Couture, who also had an assist. ”They’re a team in a position where they are rebuilding, but they played hard. They gave us a challenge. It was tough, but we gutted out the win.”

Nikolay Goldobin, Alex Edler and Bo Horvat scored power-play goals and Sam Gagner had two assists for the Canucks, who lost their sixth consecutive game – their longest losing streak of the season.

”Our battle level was good,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. ”The power play stepped up when it needed to. You score three on the power play and you should win in this league. It’s tough to lose again in the third. That’s the difference between teams that are in the playoffs and teams that are outside.”

Goldobin’s goal at 10:48 of the first period snapped a scoreless streak of 222 minutes, 57 minutes for the Canucks, who had been shut out in three consecutive losses.

The Sharks had allowed just two power-play goals in their previous 17 games, but gave up three against Vancouver. The only other time San Jose allowed three power-play goals in a game was in an opening-night loss to Philadelphia.

”Our kill wasn’t very good,” Couture said. ”We were running around. Our sticks weren’t good. We were getting outbattled and then they got a few lucky breaks. The kill needs to be better going forward.”

Aaron Dell, making his first start since Feb. 22, made 28 saves for the Sharks.

”It was a huge, gutsy performance,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. ”We let them back in the game and still found a way to rebound. It’s a tough time of year to win, no matter whose building you are going into. To have a trip like that, at this time of year, is critical.”

Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots.

”I was awful today,” Markstrom said. ”I have to be better.”

Meier put the Sharks ahead at 6:07 of the third with a shot from the faceoff circle that went under Markstrom’s blocker. The Canucks came close with just over six minutes left, but Hertl scooped a loose puck off the goal line.

Vancouver scored twice with the man-advantage in the second period to tie the game at 3.

The Sharks took a 3-1 lead just 1:47 into the period when Meier tipped in Brenden Dillion’s shot from the point.

Horvat started Vancouver’s comeback, scoring just 6 seconds into a power play. Dell stopped Gagner’s slap shot but Horvat jammed home the rebound. Edler tied it with a blast from the point at 11:48. It was his first power-play goal in 88 games dating to Feb. 17, 2017.

The Sharks scored 1:10 apart in the first period to erase a 1-0 deficit.

Goldobin opened the scoring when he took a pass from defenseman Derrick Pouilot and snapped a shot from the face-off circle that sailed over Dell’s shoulder. The San Jose goalie was screened by Jake Virtanen.

Labanc tied it on a power play at 14:48. Joe Pavelski’s shot was stopped by Markstrom, but he managed to get his own rebound and passed it to Labanc at the side of the net.

The Sharks went ahead on Couture’s 29th of the season at 16:08. He took a feed from Hertl, fought off a check by Virtanen and chipped the puck past Markstrom.

NOTES: Defenseman Chris Tanev returned to Vancouver lineup for his first game since breaking his leg Feb. 8 against Tampa Bay. … San Jose center Melker Karlsson went to the dressing favoring his right leg early in the first period after blocking a shot. … San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic left in the second period after being hit in the chest by a puck. … The Canucks’ franchise record for a scoring drought is 234 minutes, 52 seconds, set March 16-24, 2016. … The longest goal drought by a team in the expansion era is 262 minutes, 3 seconds, set by the Minnesota North Stars from Jan. 28-Feb. 6, 1988.

UP NEXT

Sharks: vs. New Jersey on Tuesday night.

Canucks: at Vegas on Tuesday night.

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