SAN JOSE -- It wasn't the most glamorous assignment, but the Sharks' defensive pairing of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun did the job they were asked to do during the course of their opening-round series against the Vancouver Canucks. They contained Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
During the four game sweep, the Sedin twins were held to one point each when they were on the ice at the same time as Vlasic and Braun. Not bad considering the Sedins had a combined 85 points during the regular season.
"It's not the easiest job -- one of the hardest jobs to do — shut down the best players on the other team," Vlasic said after Tuesday's 4-3 overtime win by the Sharks. "We gave them one point all series, which is unbelievable against two, three with (Alex) Burrows, very good players.
It's not that Vlasic and Braun were terribly physical with the Sedins during the course of the series. But what they did was limit any sustained pressure by their line, clearing the puck out of the defensive zone after one shot on several times and helping the Sharks begin their transition into the neutral zone.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan used the Braun-Vlasic combination almost exclusively on the Sedins in games three and four.
In Game 3, according to statistics kept by timeonice.com, Daniel and Henrik Sedin were each on the ice for 15.5 minutes of even strength time. Vlasic and Braun almost matched them shift for shift, as Vlasic was on the ice for 13.1 of those minutes and Braun was on for 12.2.
For the first three periods of Game 4, Vlasic and Braun were on the ice at the same time as the Sedins roughly two-thirds of the time.
When the Sedins both picked up assists on Alex Burrows' power play goal with 10:48 left in the third period, neither Braun or Vlasic were on the ice.
"Braun and I aren't physical, but we have good sticks," Vlasic said. "We know you can't run at them. You have to be patient. We took their time away and it worked out for us."
After he was called for boarding in overtime, Daniel Sedin threw a water bottle down just after he stepped into the penalty box, as he and other members of the Canucks were in complete disbelief that they had to kill another penalty.
Sedin wasn't in the penalty box long, as Patrick Marleau scored just 15 seconds after the man advantage began to give the Sharks the win and a trip to the second round of the playoffs.
The sequence was typical of how the Sharks, not to mention the officials, frustrated the Canucks and the Sedins during the course of the series. The Sedins, whose every move in the series will be second-guessed in Vancouver, had six combined points in the Sharks four-game series sweep.
A little luck didn't hurt Vlasic and Braun, either.
In the third period with the Canucks buzzing, a shot from the point bounced off the pads of Sharks goalie Antti Niemi right to Daniel Sedin. His shot got past Niemi, but hit the far post and was eventually cleared out of harm's way.
Daniel Sedin looked to the rafters in disbelief. It wasn't the first, or last time, he would be frustrated.