VANCOUVER — There were a couple of wrinkles to the plot, but two familiar scripts played out in the San Jose Sharks' 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night.
The Sharks allowed an uncharacteristic three power-play goals, yet managed to win their fourth consecutive game.
The Canucks saw a three-game scoreless streak end and battled back from an early two-goal deficit, but still lost their sixth game in a row.
Timo Meier scored his second goal of the night at 6:07 of the third period to break a 3-3 tie for the Sharks.
"We weren't at our best," said San Jose's Logan Couture, who had a goal and an assist. "They're a team in a position where they are rebuilding . . . but they played hard.
"They gave us a challenge. It was tough, but we gutted out the win."
San Jose's win at Rogers Arena followed victories over Calgary and Edmonton on a three-game Western Canadian swing. The two points came at a price as centre Melker Karlsson went to the dressing favouring his right leg early in the first period after blocking a shot and defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left in the second after being hit in the chest by a puck.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer didn't have an update on either player. He was pleased with the way his team responded to adversity.
"It was a huge, gutsy performance," said DeBoer. "We let them back in the game and still found a way to rebound.
"It's a tough time of year to win, no matter whose building you are going into. To have a trip like that, at this time of year, is critical."
Kevin Labanc also had a goal and an assist for San Jose (40-23-9). Tomas Hertl scored into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining. The Sharks, who are 7-2-0 in their nine games, are second in the Pacific Division, five points ahead of L.A.
San Jose had allowed just two power-play goals against in the previous 17 games but gave up three against Vancouver. The only other time the Sharks allowed three power-play goals in a game was in an opening-night loss to Philadelphia.
"Our kill wasn't very good," said Couture. "We were running around. Our sticks weren't good. We were getting outbattled and then they got a few lucky breaks.
"The kill needs to be better going forward."
Meier put the Sharks ahead with a shot from the face-off circle that went under the blocker of Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Although he was partially screened on the play by defenceman Michael Del Zotto Markstrom still thought he should have made the save.
"He kind of surprised me," said Markstrom (18-25-6) who stopped 25 shots in his 50th start of the season. "I have to have that.
"I was awful today. I have to be better."
Nikolay Goldobin, Alex Edler and Bo Horvat scored for Vancouver (25-38-9). Sam Gagner had two assists.
Goldobin's goal at 10:48 of the first period snapped a scoreless streak of 222 minutes, 57 seconds for the Canucks.
The Canucks, who were officially eliminated from the playoff race after Wednesday's 3-0 loss in Anaheim, were left searching for some positives.
Vancouver fell behind 3-1 early in the second period but battled back to tie the game.
"Our battle level was good," said captain Henrik Sedin. "The power play stepped up when it needed to. You score three on the power play and you should win in this league.
"It's tough to lose again in the third. That's the difference between teams that are in the playoffs and teams that are outside."
Goaltender Aaron Dell, making is first start since Feb. 22, made 28 saves for the Sharks.
NOTES: Defenceman Chris Tanev returned to Vancouver lineup for his first game since breaking his leg Feb. 8 against Tampa Bay. … The Canucks franchise record for a scoring drought is 234 minutes, 52 seconds set March 16-24, 2016. … The longest goal drought by a team in the expansion era is 262 minutes, three seconds set by the Minnesota North Stars from Jan. 28 - Feb. 6, 1988.
Jim Morris, The Canadian Press