VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Roberto Luongo played well in his return to the Vancouver Canucks’ net, just not well enough to hold off the San Jose Sharks.
Dan Boyle and Patrick Marleau scored in the third period for the Sharks, who rallied to beat Luongo and the Canucks, 3-1, on Wednesday night in a first-round Western Conference playoff series opener.
Luongo got the start because Cory Schneider didn’t recover in time from an undisclosed injury. The playoff outing added another twist to Luongo’s strange season after he wasn’t traded last summer as expected.
But just when it looked as though things might go his way, the Sharks overcame a 1-0 deficit in the second period and won.
“Louie played great early on,” said Sharks captain Joe Thornton. “He made some great saves on the first power play.”
Boyle and Logan Couture both had a goal and an assist, and Marleau pushed San Jose’s lead to 3-1. Antti Niemi made 28 saves for the Sharks, who were outshot 30-28.
Kevin Bieksa scored for the Canucks before a disappointed white-towel-waving sellout crowd.
The Canucks were the first home team to lose in the first six games of this year’s playoffs.
“The road hasn’t been too friendly to us all year,” Boyle said. “We played a very good road game.
“We weren’t too cute, we weren’t too fancy. We did what we had to do.”
The Sharks had only two regulation losses at home this season, but they managed only eight road wins.
“To come in here and win Game 1 is huge,” Thornton said. “Hopefully we can grab some confidence on the road here on out.”