Boucher made 22 of his 24 saves through the first 40 minutes, and San Jose captain Patrick Marleau scored twice in the final 20, lifting the Sharks to a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
"It took us a while to get our game going, but Bouch played outstanding for us in the first two periods, held us in the game, and allowed us to play a hard 20 at the end," Marleau said after his second two-goal game in a row.
Outshot 24-17 through two periods and a little lucky to be tied, the Sharks only gave up two shots while firing 10 in the last period. Marleau put them ahead on a power play scramble midway through, and added his second with 2:06 left.
"That was our best period," said Boucher, who made his first start -- and just his second appearance -- since Dec. 15 after Evgeni Nabokov backstopped Friday night's 4-1 win in Edmonton. "We said if we could have 20 minutes to win this game in Vancouver, we'd take it and we certainly did it."
Mats Sundin scored his first goal in his third game with the Canucks, but for the second straight night was in the penalty box when the winning goal was scored. Sundin, who was serving a slashing penalty when St. Louis went ahead with 2:10 left Friday night, was off for high-sticking when Marleau scored.
"It was a broken play and my stick went up," Sundin said. "I'm not going to lose sleep over that. It's unfortunate, but that stuff happens in hockey."
The goal, which went in off Marleau's skate after Dan Boyle swiped at a loose puck in the slot, required a brief video review. Marleau made a kicking motion, but not until well after the puck bounced off his skate and under Curtis Sanford.
"By the looks of it there was a kicking intention but the puck had already found its way between my pads before you could see the kicking motion so I think that was the determining factor," said Sanford, who stopped 23 shots.
Marleau added his team-leading 23rd goal after a giveaway left him alone in front of the Canucks net, lifting a quick backhand shot through Sanford.
"Our captain stepped up just like he has to do night in and night out," coach Todd McLellan said. "I was very happy to see him elevate his game in the third period. He's done that two nights in a row and as a result we win games."
Rob Blake and Mike Grier also scored for the Sharks, who were also playing for the second straight night. San Jose backup Brian Boucher made his first start -- and just his second appearance -- since Dec. 15 after Evgeni Nabokov backstopped Friday night's 4-1 win in Edmonton. Boucher finished with 24 saves to improve to 9-1-1 this season
Sundin scored his first goal on his first shot since joining Vancouver, tying the game on the power play with 7.6 seconds left in the first period. Sundin, who hadn't played in nine months before his Canucks debut Wednesday, fired his 556th career goal into an empty net from the left faceoff circle with Brian Boucher down after Kevin Bieksa's point shot caromed off a crowd in front.
After a disappointing 6-4 loss to last-place St. Louis Friday night, the Canucks gave Western Conference-leading San Jose a stiffer test. But Vancouver's losing streak against the Sharks still extended to six games, a skid that dates to April 2007, and includes a 5-0 thumping in San Jose on Dec. 23.
"The difference in the first two periods was obviously our inability to put in the grade-A chances we had and take a lead," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We out-chanced them, I thought we outplayed them, and in the third there wasn't a lot of room on the ice and we made a few mistakes and they made us pay."
Daniel Sedin also scored for the Canucks, who fell to 1-2-2 in their last five games and have now dropped three straight on home ice. Vancouver outshot the Sharks 24-17 through 40 minutes, but only got two on net in the third period.
Sundin, who signed as a free agent on Dec. 18, easily had his best game with the Canucks, recording four shots through two periods after being blanked his first two games. If not for Boucher, he could have had his first multiple-point night.
Boucher threw out his glove to rob the 37-year-old on a point-blank power play rebound shot early in the second period, and stopped another in-tight backhand in the final seconds of the period. Boucher also got a break after getting a piece of Daniel Sedin's shot with nine seconds left in the second, as Kyle Wellwood's swipe at the rebound sent the puck went under the sprawling goalie but stopped with just the slightest portion not over the goal line.
Curtis Sanford made 23 saves in his first start since a groin injury forced him out of a Dec. 30 game after the first period -- and also forced the Canucks to acquire Jason LaBarbera in a trade with Los Angeles that same night.
He didn't have much chance on Blake's goal, a centering pass that went off Ryan Kesler's skate atop the crease shortly after the first penalty in a 5-on-3 expired. But Sanford probably wants another chance on Grier's go-ahead marker two minutes into the second period, a 30-foot shot of a rolling puck that fluttered over his glove.
- San Jose came in having outscored the Canucks 20-6 in five-straight wins since the end of the 2006-07 season.
- Canucks G Roberto Luongo missed his 23rd game since a Nov. 22 groin injury, but has resumed practicing pain-free and could return as early as next week. Luongo has said he wants to play in the All-Star game in his hometown of Montreal in late January, but only if he has returned to play for the Canucks before then.
- Vancouver C Jason Jaffray was sent to Manitoba of the American Hockey League Saturday after clearing waivers.
- LaBarbera is 2-1-2 with a .916 save percentage since joining the Canucks.