The 2011 NHL playoff schedule has gone quite similarly for both the Canucks and Sharks. Both know how to take big leads in a playoff series, and both know how to almost completely blow them. Yet despite Vancouver and San Jose nearly losing 3-0 leads, both teams still made it to the conference finals. However, while the finalists have almost blown leads, none of them have had to rally from huge deficits in the postseason — but that is what San Jose is in for now.
The Sharks could have to make a 3-0 comeback very soon, unless things turn around quickly. But after the Canucks pulled away for a 7-3 Game 2 victory, the odds for another massive rally in in these playoffs got a little longer.
Vancouver’s postseason began quite ominously after almost blowing its 3-0 lead to Chicago. But ever since that great escape, the Canucks have recovered to beat the Predators in six and take early control against the Sharks. Meanwhile, San Jose has not regained momentum after nearly blowing its 3-0 lead to Detroit, as the Sharks are now on a 1-5 run.
San Jose started off well with an early power play goal from Logan Couture, but Vancouver soon got two goals within 49 seconds. Yet the Sharks tied the score minutes later, as the West’s Game 2 looked set to become as big of a shootout as the East’s Game 2.
However, the Canucks got the only goal of the second period on a tally from Kevin Bieksa. Still, things remained in reach for the Sharks, but for the second straight night, the team totally collapsed in the third period. Instead of blowing a late lead, the Sharks fell into a bigger and bigger deficit, as the Canucks struck for four straight third period goals.
By the time the damage was done, Vancouver had taken total control of Game 2 and perhaps the series as a whole. The playoffs are starting to look just like the end of 2010 for San Jose, when it was swept out of the conference finals by Chicago. This time, however, the Sharks return home for Games 3 and 4, to try to even the series back up.
Still, considering both teams’ recent history, it would be very fitting if Vancouver jumped out to another 3-0 advantage in this series. But although the NHL is no longer a safe haven for 3-0 leads, this year’s playoffs will have to contain at least one round without a three-game rally.
However, the Sharks still want to avoid such a hole, and now get to go home to avoid it. Game 3 will be held at 9 p.m. ET Friday in San Jose.
NHL.com- “2011 Conference Finals Schedule”
Yahoo Sports (via Associated Press) – “Canucks rout Sharks 7-3 for 2-0 lead in series”