SAN JOSE – Maybe up until recently, the San Jose Sharks played more like a collection of NHL players than a team.
That might have changed on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.
Mikael Granlund and Mike Hoffman both scored third-period goals and goalie Kaapo Kahkonen finished with 32 saves as the Sharks earned a feisty 4-3 win over the Canucks to snap a three-game losing streak.
Granlund’s goal might have been the prettiest of the season for the Sharks as he went end to end before beating Vancouver goalie Casey DeSmith at the 22-second mark of the third period to give San Jose a 3-2 lead. Just 1:26 later, with the Sharks on a 4-on-3 man advantage, Hoffman scored off a pass from Granlund for a 4-2 San Jose lead.
Brock Boeser scored his second goal of the game with 3:11 left in regulation time to cut San Jose’s lead to 4-3, but the Sharks held on from there to earn their fourth win of the season.
The Sharks had already lost twice to Vancouver this season, 10-1 on Nov. 2, and 3-1 on Nov. 20.
Granlund’s goal was his first as a Shark and Hoffman’s goal was his sixth in six games.
Ty Emberson and Fabian Zetterlund also scored for San Jose with Tomas Hertl assisting on both. Calen Addison also assisted on both the Granlund and Hoffman goals.
Emberson’s goal was his first in 13 NHL games.
Addison was in the middle of a melee after Hoffman’s goal, as he took a hit along the boards from Elias Pettersson in San Jose’s zone. Matt Benning came over and took exception, and a pair of Canucks players came over to get in Benning’s face.
Addison and Canucks defenseman Mark Friedman both got 10-minute misconducts, and Benning got an extra two minutes for cross-checking.
The Sharks were hoping to keep up the good habits they established Friday afternoon when they built a two-goal lead over the Montreal Canadiens before they lost 3-2 in a shootout.
The Sharks outshot Montreal 33-24, created a handful of chances off the rush and were just much quicker to pucks than they had been two nights earlier in a 7-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken.
For San Jose, the key was to keep it up for a second straight game against a much better opponent. While the Canadiens are outside of a playoff position a quarter of the way through the season, the Canucks entered Saturday in second place in the Pacific Division, one point back of the leading Vegas Golden Knights.
Before the loss to Seattle, the Sharks had shown some signs of improvement, going 3-4-0 after a 0-10-1 start to the season.
“The Seattle drop was a big one,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “I don’t want to say a one off but in the way we have been going, it was a game where we weren’t on and unfortunately, that was a bad one. But to bounce back the way we did, and the fashion we did, was certainly encouraging.
“We’ve got to keep climbing again. We can’t stop there.”