October 02, 2016 - 8:58 PM
VANCOUVER - Anton Rodin is making a strong case that he belongs on the Canucks' roster when the NHL regular season begins.
The Swedish forward scored in the first period of Vancouver's 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
The goals was his second of the pre-season and he now has a team-leading four points in three games, including a game-winner against Edmonton on Wednesday.
Rodin, who was drafted by the Canucks in the second round of 2009, hopes he can keep up the pace as the pre-season enters the second week and more regular NHLers return to the fold.
"I think every game I can get in is good for me," said Rodin. "I came in here with pretty good confidence. I know what I can do. I know what I am capable of, and for me it's good to have a good start."
The pre-season numbers are extra impressive when you consider Rodin suffered a gruesome skate cut injury on his knee last January while playing in the Swedish Elite League. It ended his season, but he signed a one-year contract with Vancouver last March.
"I work on (my knee) every day and I will have to do that every day for awhile," he said. "It's longer days but it's worth it. I still have to bust my (butt) everyday — that's how I play. I'm a hard worker and if I don't I'm not as good of a player."
San Jose's Matt Nieto scored his second goal of the game in overtime as the Sharks (3-0-0) stayed undefeated in exhibition play. Forward Kevin Labanc also scored.
Tuomo Ruutu had the other goal for Vancouver (1-1-2). The 33-year-old veteran forward is on a professional tryout with the Canucks and hoping to keep his career in the NHL going.
"It's a little different from the past 12, 13 years, but at the same time that's the way it is," Ruutu said of the PTO. "Guys are battling for spots, you better know that early or you're going to leave very soon."
Ruutu scored the Canucks' first goal while shorthanded in the first period. Joseph LaBate sent a nice cross-ice pass to Ruutu, who wristed the puck over Martin Jones' glove.
Nieto replied as Julius Bergman's shot ricocheted right to Nieto and he batted it in past Ryan Miller to make it 1-1.
Rodin gave the Canucks the lead again with 3:38 left. Bo Horvat made a Sedin-esque behind-the-back pass from the boards to Rodin, who one-timed it in.
There was blood on the ice in the second after Derek Dorsett and Alex Gallant tussled in a vicious fight. Shortly after, Rodin had a chance at his second with a partial breakaway, but couldn't control the puck on his stick.
The Sharks tied it again with another power-play goal in the last minute of the second. Labanc took a pass from Chris Tierney and crashed the net before banging in his own rebound.
It was the sixth power-play opportunity for San Jose through two periods.
"We took some penalties and they gained momentum out of that," said Ruutu. "We need to stay out of the box and save some energy."
Rodin continued his strong game in the third with another chance — this time a point-blank shot at Jones' doorstep that went just wide.
Jones stopped 26 shots for San Jose. Miller finished with 17 saves for the Canucks.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016