VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Sitting in the penalty box
with his team down two men, Curtis Brown was thinking only about
killing penalties. His mind-set quickly changed when his penalty
Brown stepped back on the ice and into a breakaway, scoring the
go-ahead goal with a backhand over Roberto Luongo's glove. Mike
Grier converted another breakaway with a backhand 10 minutes later
to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 6-4 victory over Vancouver on
Friday night, spoiling the Canucks' home opener.
"Coming out of the penalty box the number one thing was to help
Grier because he was about ready to pass out after being out there
on the penalty kill," Brown said. "And I hopped out and was
yelling `I'm out, I'm out' and as I was yelling the puck was coming
towards me so I had to turn and head back the other way."
Patrick Marleau, Christian Ehrhoff, Patrick Rissmiller and Ville
Nieminen also scored for San Jose, which rebounded quickly from its
first loss of the season, a 6-4 setback in Edmonton on Thursday
night in which it blew a three-goal lead.
Just as they did in Edmonton, the Sharks found themselves down
two men early in the third period. But unlike the previous night,
when the Oilers scored twice to tie the game, San Jose killed off
both penalties while Brown added to their lead.
"It snuck away from us in Edmonton and we certainly didn't want
that to happen," Brown said. "The biggest thing was we wanted to
kill the penalty off. You never dream of something like that
happening, especially down two men."
Vesa Toskala played a big role in the penalty kill and Brown's
goal. After robbing Markus Naslund when the 5-on-3 started late in
the second period, he was credited with an assist after Henrik
Sedin's centering pass from behind the net deflected off Toskala's
stick right to Brown at center ice.
"Did I get an assist?" Toskala asked after making 21 saves to
improve to 3-0. "I was just trying to keep my stick in the passing
lane. I didn't obviously try to make a breakaway pass but I got a
Naslund scored his 300th goal as a Canuck, tying teammate Trevor
Linden for the franchise record, and Kevin Bieksa netted his first
NHL goal for Vancouver. Daniel Sedin and Mattias Ohlund also scored
for the Canucks, who have lost three straight after winning their
Ohlund's goal cut the lead to one goal midway through the third,
but Grier tucked a rolling puck under Luongo's arm 2 minutes later
to seal the win.
It was a rough home debut for Luongo, acquired in a trade that
sent Todd Bertuzzi to Florida. He came into the game with a 1.73
goals-against average and 94.1 save percentage in his first four
games, but Marleau scored on the first shot after getting behind
rookie Luc Bourdon to tap in Milan Michalek's backdoor pass.
"Not great at all," Luongo said of his 31-save effort.
"Obviously I'm disappointed in my performance and disappointed for
the fans. First home game and I didn't play very well. In the third
I obviously didn't make the big save."
Luongo also got caught leaning on Michalek's sharp-angle shot
late in the first, allowing Ehrhoff to slam in the rebound for a
2-1 lead. He wouldn't blame it on nerves over his first game in
front of home fans, but said new equipment might have played a role
in Ehrhoff's goal.
Luongo started with new pads, glove, blocker and mask to match
the blue-and-green color scheme of the team's retro third jerseys,
but switched to his original pads to start the second period.
"I wasn't feeling too comfortable with the new pads to be
honest with you," Luongo said. "I felt good in practice with
them, but in the first it was not going great and I don't know if
that had anything to do with that goal or not, but I switched back
to the other ones."
Canucks D Sami Salo is listed as day to day after
aggravating a groin injury in Tuesday's loss in Minnesota. ... C
Marc Chouinard played his first regular-season game for the Canucks
after injuring his shoulder in the preseason finale. ... San Jose
begins a three-game homestand Tuesday against Dallas.