VANCOUVER â€” Patrick Marleau scored the winner and Martin Jones made 35 saves as the San Jose Sharks downed the undermanned Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Saturday night.
Tomas Hertl, Mikkel Boedker and Logan Couture had the other goals for San Jose (36-18-7). Chris Tierney added two assists.
Daniel Sedin replied for Vancouver (26-29-6), which got 22 stops from Ryan Miller.
The Canucks were without five players because of the mumps, or symptoms associated with the highly contagious virus. Troy Stecher is the only confirmed case, according to the club, but fellow defencemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Tryamkin, along with forwards Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund have all shown symptoms.
Vancouver recalled four players from the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets for the game â€” defencemen Evan McEneny and Jordan Subban, as well as forwards Alexandre Grenier and Joseph Labate. The 22-year-old McEneny, an undrafted free agent signed in 2012, made his NHL debut, while Subban was a healthy scratch.
The Canucks then lost another defenceman when Luca Sbisa left after the second period with what the team called the flu. The team said in Friday’s release announcing the mumps outbreak that the virus can cause flu-like symptoms.
The Sharks have not lost a regular-season game at Rogers Arena since January 21, 2012 â€” a stretch of 10 games. San Jose sits first in the Pacific Division and second in the Western Conference, while fading Vancouver is nine points back of the second wild-card berth.
With both the Canucks and Sharks coming off their league-mandated five-day breaks, Daniel Sedin hit the post after a Jones giveaway early in the second before San Jose opened the scoring at 3:31 on a sloppy Vancouver change.
Joel Ward’s breakaway effort dribbled through Miller and past the post, but Tierney followed up the play and fed a wide-open Hertl for his seventh goal of the season into a vacant Vancouver net at 3:31.
The Canucks, who carried the play in the first period, kept pushing despite being down 1-0, with Alexandre Burrows and Jannik Hansen forcing saves from Jones in tight.
Vancouver then had a couple of good chances on a power play, including a Brandon Sutter redirection off the post, before Daniel Sedin tied it.
Henrik Sedin intercepted a poor clearing attempt by Sharks defenceman Brent Burns and fed his twin brother, who beat Jones shortside at 12:02 for his 13th of the campaign and second in 17 games.
Vancouver came close on another power play, but Bo Horvat fired wide from the slot with Jones completely out of position.
The Sharks would make the Canucks pay when Marleau scored his 22nd after collecting a pass from David Schlemko below the goal line and tucking the puck inside the post with 55.7 seconds left in the period.
Boedker then put the game out of reach with his seventh, and first in 20 games, after grabbing a turnover in the neutral zone and beating Miller over the blocker at 11:31 of the third.
Couture made it 4-1 on the power play at 14:20 with his 20th, picking the shortside top corner on Miller.
Notes: The mumps virus is found in saliva and respiratory droplets. It is spread person to person through coughing, sneezing or coming into contact with saliva. … Marleau scored the 500th goal of his career in the Sharks’ victory at Rogers Arena on Feb. 2. Tierney had two goals in that one, but was held pointless in eight straight before Saturday’s two assists. … The Canucks play host to Detroit on Tuesday, while San Jose welcomes Toronto the same night. … With the NHL trade deadline set for Wednesday, Vancouver has three veteran players who could be of interest to teams further up the standings in Miller, Hansen and Burrows. Miller and Hansen have limited no-trade clauses in their contracts, while Burrows has a full no-trade, meaning he would have to agree to any deal. Miller and Burrows are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press