ALSO ON SLAM!
Sunday, April 9, 2000
Canucks 5, SHARKS 2
Sharks enter playoffs on losing note
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks ended their regular season with a loss, and now head to St. Louis to begin the playoffs against a team they have not beaten all year.
A 5-2 defeat Sunday night by the Vancouver Canucks left the Sharks in eighth place in the Western Conference, meaning they will face the top-seeded Blues starting Thursday night in the first round of the playoffs.
If the Sharks had won or tied, they would have jumped past Edmonton into seventh place in the conference and faced Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. San Jose was 4-2-0 against defending Stanley Cup champion Dallas this season, and 0-4-1 against St. Louis.
"To be quite honest, it really made no difference," San Jose coach Darryl Sutter said. "We were either playing the defending champion, or playing the team with the best record."
Andrew Cassels had a goal and three assists, and Brent Sopel added a goal and two assists, as Vancouver ended the season 30-37-15, in ninth place in the conference with 83 points -- four behind the Sharks.
Todd Bertuzzi, Brad May and Trent Klatt also scored for the Canucks, and Garth Snow made 20 saves.
"The easy thing would have been to throw our sticks out there and say we had nothing left after getting knocked out (of the playoff race)," Vancouver's Mark Messier said. "But this didn't take any of the sting out of it. We played well and wanted to continue."
The 39-year-old Messier, who has played on six Stanley Cup championship teams, said he has no idea if it was his last game with the Canucks. Vancouver has said it will buy out the last two years of Messier's contract for $2 million and try to pursue him as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
"The Canucks will be the first team I talk to," Messier said.
Vincent Damphousse and Marco Sturm scored for the Sharks, who with a win would have finished at .500 for the first time in the franchise's nine seasons. San Jose entered the contest with a three-game winning streak.
Owen Nolan, who missed the previous four games for San Jose with upper body soreness, was held without a point in his return. He finished tied for sixth in NHL scoring with 84 points, and was second in the league with 44 goals.
Sopel opened the scoring 7:42 into the game on a shot on which starting Sharks goalie Steve Shields was screened. Bertuzzi made it 2-0 just 45 seconds later after taking a cross-ice pass from Cassels, and May scored on a backhander with 1:39 remaining in the first period.
The Sharks, with Evgeni Nabokov taking over as goalie at the start of the second period, pulled within 3-1 on Damphousse's goal early in the second period as both teams skated a man short.
But Klatt made it 4-1 in the third period when he knocked the rebound of his own shot past Nabokov. Sturm scored with 1:02 left, but Cassels added a goal into an empty net with 32 seconds remaining.
"We weren't sharp, let's face it. We're not going to dwell on it," San Jose's Jeff Norton said. "We made the playoffs. We've got to move on. If we dwell on the regular season, we're down 4-0 already."
NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL --- --- --- ----- VANCOUVER 3 0 2 5 SAN JOSE 0 1 1 2 FINAL GOAL SCORING: 1ST PRD: VAN - BRENT SOPEL 2 (ANDREW CASSELS) 7:42 VAN - TODD BERTUZZI 25 (ANDREW CASSELS, BRENT SOPEL) 8:27 VAN - BRAD MAY 9 (JOSH HOLDEN, BRENT SOPEL) 18:21 2ND PRD: SAN - VINCENT DAMPHOUSSE 21 (MARCUS RAGNARSSON, MIKE RATHJE) 4:50 3RD PRD: VAN - (PP) TRENT KLATT 10 (MARKUS NASLUND) 14:14 SAN - MARCO STURM 12 (JEFF NORTON, JEFF FRIESEN) 18:58 VAN - (EN) ANDREW CASSELS 17 (TODD BERTUZZI) 19:28 POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: VAN - 1 OF 7, SAN - 0 OF 3. SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL --- --- --- ----- VAN 10 7 6 23 SAN 7 8 7 22 GOALIES: VAN - GARTH SNOW SAN - STEVE SHIELDS, EVGENI NABOKOV(2ND) OFFICIALS: REF - B MCCREARY, VAN MASSENHOVEN LIN - BONNEY, SHARRERS