Tomas Hertl scored twice in the first period and Martin Jones made 29 saves Sunday as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 after losing Joe Thornton to an apparent injury to his left leg.
San Jose forward Jannik Hansen picked up an assist in his return to Vancouver for the Sharks (44-28-7), who have won 11 straight regular-season games at Rogers Arena dating back to Jan. 21, 2012. Patrick Marleau added an empty netter.
Sven Baertschi replied for the Canucks (30-39-9), who got 22 saves from Ryan Miller.
Already minus centre Logan Couture because of a facial injury, Thornton crumpled to the ice with about three minutes left in the first when he ran into Vancouver forward Michael Chaput from behind.
The 37-year-old centre managed to get to the San Jose bench under his own power, but couldn’t put any weight on his left leg and had to be helped to the locker-room.
The Sharks entered play one point up on the Flames for third in Pacific Division after falling 5-2 in Calgary on Friday. San Jose clinched a playoff spot last week, but is just 2-8-0 over its last 10 after a 7-2-0 run and started Sunday four points back of the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks for first in the division.
Calgary hosted Anaheim later Sunday.
Vancouver, an anaemic 2-9-2 over its last 13, is set to miss the post-season for the third time in four years and has not won at home since Feb. 18, a span of 11 games (0-8-3).
The Canucks’ last win in regulation at home came Jan. 20 against the Florida Panthers.
Hertl opened the scoring with his first goal in 17 games nine minutes into the opening period on a weird sequence. Vancouver forward Drew Shore was stripped in his own zone, with the puck eventually finding its way to Mikkel Boedker. His initial backhand was stopped by Miller before Hertl popped home the rebound for his ninth of the season.
The Sharks forward then made it 2-0 just under two minutes later when Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s point shot hit Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler in front and bounced right to Hertl, who buried his second past a helpless Miller.
Jones, who came in just 1-5-0 over his last six decisions with a pedestrian .856 save percentage, wasn’t overly busy, but had the shutout bid broken with 3:53 when Baertschi’s weak shot leaked under his arm for his 18th.
The Canucks pressed late, but Marleau sealed it into an empty net – his 27th goal of the year – with 2.6 seconds left.Report Typo/Error