VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With most of his top offensive players still back in San Jose, Sharks coach Todd McLellan wasn't worried about a struggling power play. Truth be told, he probably wasn't overly concerned about a win, either.
Already happy with the performance of his young roster, McLellan got answers to both when Tommy Wingels scored the winning goal on a man advantage with 3:53 left to lift the Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks in their preseason opener Monday.
Despite sitting out Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Brent Burns and Dan Boyle, San Jose outshot a similarly young Canucks lineup 42-16, finally taking the lead for good when the power play snapped an 0-for-6 funk that included two long five-on-threes.
Joe Pavelski, who opened the scoring midway through the first period on a Wingels rebound, broke his stick on a one-time attempt and the offspeed shot was deflected in by Wingels, fluttering up and over the glove of Canucks goalie Joe Cannata.
"Just enough," Pavelski chuckled of his weak shot. "We had some really good chances and then we get it off a flub shot. You get enough good looks you are going to get a dirty one."
McLellan was more impressed with the other shots his young team generated than he was worried about a power play missing so many regulars, especially on the two-man advantages, which he said they have yet to work on in training camp.
"Win, loss whatever, we have to leave pleased that we competed," McLellan said. "We played on our toes, not our heels. We were fast and quick to a lot of loose pucks and some of the things we've worked on in the first four days of training camp, we saw five-on-five."
That included a forecheck that helped generate 42 shots against a Canucks team -- and thanks to NHL realignment, new Pacific Division rival -- that is preaching tighter defensive play and more shot blocking under new coach John Tortorella.
"We weren't one and out," McLellan said. "We sustained time in the offensive zone."
John McCarthy, who has played 51 games his first four seasons with the Sharks, also scored. And McLellan praised rookie Tomas Hertl, who played his first NHL game with Pavelski and Wingels, assisted on the first goal and didn't look out of place.
"Sometimes young players like that are intimidated and they play on their heels, they don't really show us what they have," McLellan said of Hertl, a 19-year-old from the Czech Republic taken 17th in the 2012 draft. "Tomas carries himself like he belongs here. Strong on pucks, created plays, held onto the puck when he needed to, didn't panic -- so a good first night."
It wasn't a great night for goalie Alex Stalock, who is battling Harri Sateri to back up Antti Niemi. Stalock saw only 16 shots and made good saves on consecutive power plays to start the first two periods. But he struggled to control a rebound on rookie Brendan Gaunce's goal late in the first period and was beaten from just above the goal line by fellow rookie Hunter Shinkaruk early in the third.
Friday's exhibition game
Anaheim at Sharks, 7:30 p.m.