Chiasson, Demko lead Canucks past Sharks 4-2
Alex Chiasson had a goal and an assist, Thatcher Demko made 34 saves for his career-high 30th win and the Vancouver Canucks kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
Jason Dickinson, Conor Garland and Luke Schenn also scored for the Canucks, who moved within four points of Dallas and Vegas for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“It wasn’t a Picasso,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We didn’t play our best game, but we sort of grinded it out. Found a way and got great goaltending.”
Tomas Hertl and Nick Bonino had goals for San Jose. Kaapo Kahkonen made 35 saves, but dropped to 0-3-0 since he was acquired from Minnesota at the March 21 trade deadline.
“We played well enough to get a point, if not two,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “Had our scoring chances again. We had breakaways, we had three posts, we had looks at the end on our 6-on-5, 6-on-4 situation. We had plenty of opportunities to score. We didn’t get it done and that’s the result.”
Power-play opportunities were plentiful for both sides in the game, but after going 4 for 5 with the man advantage in their last two games, the Canucks were 0 for 7 against the Sharks. San Jose went 1 for 5, with Hertl’s goal scored during a two-man advantage in the first period.
“Our starts haven’t been that good at home,” Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson said. “We wanted to make sure that we came out hard and I thought we did that. But at the same time, we took too many penalties. We just have to focus on playing the way we need to play.”
Vancouver opened the scoring just 2:03 into the first. Dickinson intercepted an errant pass from Sharks defenseman Ryan Merkley near center ice, then streaked down the right wing, deked Kahkonen and scored. It was Dickinson’s first goal since returning earlier this week after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury.
Merkley was hit hard by Kyle Burroughs after releasing the puck and was sent to concussion protocol. He later returned to finish the game.
“I wasn’t really expecting (the hit), so it just caught me out of nowhere,” Merkley said. “I think my head just got squeezed against the boards or the glass with his shoulder, so just caught me off guard a little bit. Took a few seconds to regroup.”
Hertl tied it at 7:34 with the Sharks on a 5-on-3. He banged the rebound of Timo Meier’s shot past Demko from close range.
The Canucks made it 2-1 at 4:49 of the second period on Garland’s first goal in 20 games.
With 1:23 left to go in the second, Bonino deftly deflected Brent Burns’ point shot from deep in the slot past Demko for his third goal in four games.
Just 2:15 into the third, Chiasson put the Canucks back ahead, tipping a pass from Horvat past Kahkonen.
“I didn’t get as good of a shot as I wanted to, but it was a good place for Bo to get back on it,” Chiasson said. “It feels like when we play that way, we shoot, we get it back, we create a second opportunity. Nice to get off to a good start during the third.”
Schenn scored into an empty net with one second left to end it.
NOTES: It was the Sharks’ first visit to Rogers Arena since Jan. 18, 2020. ... With the win, Vancouver swept their three-game season series against San Jose. ... D Quinn Hughes returned to Vancouver’s lineup after missing two games due to illness.
Sharks: At Nashville on Tuesday night.
Canucks: Host Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.
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