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NHL: Sedins combine for seven points, lead Canucks past Sharks

By Tyler Hunt     May 23, 2011 in Sports
Henrik Sedin assisted on all four Canucks goals and Sami Salo scored two goals and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks cruised to a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks last night, pulling ahead 3-1 in the Western Conference Final.
Canada's last hope of representation in the Stanley Cup Finals took a huge step last night, as the Canucks pulled within one win of reaching the final for the first time since 1994.
After cutting Vancouver's series lead down to 2-1 in Game 3, it was the Sharks who came out with energy as they outshot the Canucks 10-6 in the first period and drew four straight Vancouver penalties.
But the Sharks powerplay could not connect on any opportunities and in the 2nd period their fortunes were turned around. After another early penalty by Dan Hamuis that the Sharks again failed to respond on, the Canucks received four straight powerplays of their own, and made San Jose pay with each one.
After a Torrey Mitchell hooking penalty that gave Vancouver a 5-on-3, Sami Salo set up Ryan Kesler, who one-timed a slap shot over Antti Niemi and put the Canucks on the board.
Just over a minute later, the Sharks were called on a too many men penalty after Logan Couture played the puck coming on off the bench, giving the Canucks another two-man-advantage. This time it was Salo's turn, as he took a pass from Henrik Sedin and blasted a point shot through a screened Niemi.
For the Sharks, it couldn't get much worse. But on the ensuing faceoff after the Canucks second goal of the period, Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray played the puck over the glass, giving Vancouver yet another 5-on-3.
On an nearly identical play, Henrik Sedin found Salo sneaking in off the point and he wired another slapper through Niemi, with Daniel Sedin picking up his second assist of the night as well.
The Canucks managed to score three powerplay goals in a span of 1:55, putting the game heavily in their favor as they entered the 3rd.
Alex Burrows opened the scoring in the 3rd as he tapped in a pass from Henrik Sedin, who waited out the Sharks' Murray and slid a perfect pass over to Burrows with an open net. Daniel Sedin also picked up his third assist of the night, and his fifth point in the last three games as the Swedish twins are starting to get hot.
The Sharks responded quickly as Andrew Desjardins tipped in a point shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic to close the gap to three.
A late goal by Ryan Clowe with less than five minutes remaining cut the lead to two, but it was too little too late for the Sharks, who saw their powerplay fail and their penalty kill fare even worse against the Canucks.
The Canucks will be welcomed home to Rogers Arena in Vancouver as they have a chance to close out the series at home and punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals. But the Sharks won't be going away anytime soon, and expect a much better effort out of them with the series and their playoff lives on the line.
Game 5 is Tuesday at 9 PM. The Canucks are 6-3 at home this post-season.
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