Gagner OT goal lifts Canucks past Sharks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — With the overtime in its dying seconds, Sam Gagner was already thinking about what moves he might try in a shootout.
The Vancouver Canucks center never got the chance to find out.
Gagner scored with 25.7 seconds left in overtime to give the Canucks a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks Friday night. It was just Gagner’s fourth goal of the year and first in five games.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Canucks. It also helped Vancouver rebound from a 7-1 loss at home Wednesday against the Nashville Predators.
“It was big for me and it was big for our team,” said Gagner. “I think especially after the last game we wanted to bounce back.
“For myself, you want to contribute offensively. Hopefully it’s something that allows me to get some offensive swagger and keep producing.”
Defenseman Alex Edler fed Gagner a pass that allowed him to break in alone on San Jose goaltender Martin Jones. Gagner took his time then scored on a backhand.
“I just wanted to settle (the puck) down and get him moving,” said Gagner, a former Columbus Blue Jacket who the Canucks signed as a free agent this summer. “I thought if I got to my backhand I could get it upstairs.
“I was actually preparing a little bit for the shootout and what I was going to do if I had a chance. It allows you to think about if you get a breakaway. Eddie made a great play and I was able to put it in.”
The goal came after defenseman Michael Del Zotto had hit a post and Daniel Sedin shot wide on an empty net.
It was Vancouver’s first win at home over San Jose in almost six years. The Canucks had lost 11 straight games (0-9-2) to the Sharks at Rogers Arena.
Markus Granlund scored twice for the Canucks (15-14-4), who improved to 3-3 in overtime games. Brock Boeser also had a goal while Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin had three assists each.
During the morning skate, Canucks coach Travis Green took Granlund aside for a long talk.
“He just said he needs more from me,” said Granlund, who now has six goals in 32 games after scoring 19 last season.
“I know I can play better. I want to keep working every day and doing my best every game.”
Granlund’s first goal came on a power play just 44 seconds into the game. Vancouver peppered the Sharks with 22 shots in the first period.
“That’s the type of game we wanted to play,” said Boeser, who has a team-leading 17 goals in his rookie season. “We gave them a bit of life in the second but played a lot better in the third.
“That was a huge two points for us.”
San Jose defenseman Brent Burns tied the game 3-3 at 14:11 of the third with his second goal of the night. Joel Ward earned an assist on the play for his 300th point in his 700th career game.
Marcus Sorensen scored the other goal for the Sharks (17-10-4).
The Sharks were coming off a 3-2 win over Calgary on Thursday night. They also knew Vancouver would be hungry after their embarrassing home loss.
“They’ve lost a bunch in a row,” said San Jose coach Peter DeBoer. “They’re sitting here rested, they got wacked last game 7-1. All the things set up for them to have an A game and they did.
“They were outstanding early. We found a way to get an important point on a night where we probably didn’t deserve one.”
Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom had 35 saves. Jones stopped 36 shots in the San Jose net and kept his team in the game early on.
“It wasn’t a great start for us,” said Jones, who was looking to win his 100th career win. “That was a team that got beat up pretty good last game we knew they were going to come out with a lot of jump.
“We were maybe a little flat. We played last night which is always tough. We battled through it though and fought back.”
NOTES: Canucks D Chris Tanev is expected to miss up to three weeks with a groin strain. ... The Canucks last beat the Sharks at Rogers Arena on Jan. 21, 2012. ... C Brandon Sutter (upper body) is still seven to 10 days away from returning to the lineup. ... D Erik Gudbranson (upper body) skated with the team Friday morning. ... D Ashton Saunter, called up from Utica of the AHL, and C Michael Chaput were healthy scratches. ... The Sharks were outshot 10-0 in the first 5:39 of the game before managing five straight shots on a power play. ... D Brent Burns has five goals in five games. ... C Daniel O’Regan was a healthy scratch.