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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The big-name San Jose Sharks can push the strongest NHL team off its game. Ravaged by an apparent outbreak of the mumps, the Vancouver Canucks could only do so much.
Patrick Marleau scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Martin Jones made 35 saves, helping the Sharks beat the undermanned Canucks 4-1 on Saturday night.
"You gotta give them credit, they played a real good game tonight, right from the drop of the puck," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "For a short lineup, they played hard, they played fast, they gave us some issues, so hats off to them for the effort they had."
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, but fellow defensemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Tryamkin, along with forwards Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund, have all shown symptoms.
Vancouver recalled four players from Utica of the AHL — defensemen Evan McEneny and Jordan Subban and forwards Alexandre Grenier and Joseph Labate.
The Canucks lost another defenseman when Luca Sbisa left after the second period with what the team called the flu. Vancouver said in Friday's release announcing the mumps outbreak that the virus can cause flu-like symptoms.
Despite that, Vancouver hung tight with the defending Western Conference champs until Marleau's tiebreaking goal.
"We played a pretty good game all the way through," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "We just didn't quite have the jump we needed (in the third).
"Our young guys came up and played hard. The first two periods I thought we gave ourselves a real chance to win that game."
Tomas Hertl, Mikkel Boedker and Logan Couture had the other goals for San Jose. Chris Tierney added two assists.
Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver, which got 22 stops from Ryan Miller.
The Sharks have not lost a regular season game at Rogers Arena since Jan. 21, 2012 — 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.
Daniel Sedin hit the post after 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.
The Canucks carried the play in the first period and 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 Brandon Sutter's redirection off the post, before Daniel Sedin tied it.
Henrik Sedin intercepted a poor clearing attempt by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns and fed his twin brother, who beat Jones shortside at 12:02 for his 13th of the season 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.
"It's tough with them having so many guys out," Jones said. "They had a lot of young guys come in and bring a lot of energy, especially early."
The Sharks made 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: Both teams were coming off their league-mandated five-day breaks. ... 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.
Sharks: Host Toronto on Tuesday night.
Canucks: Host Detroit on Tuesday night.
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