Once in a while, as if to show us that no game is gravely important, the hockey gods take over and have some fun.

The Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks were powerless to stop their folly Thursday in a game that featured goals bizarre, grotesque and comical. The Canucks, at least, could laugh along with the gods as they beat the Sharks 4-2 to end a nine-game losing streak against their National Hockey League rivals.

And the Canucks deserved this one, too. They were better than Sharks from the opening faceoff, quicker and stronger to pucks and far superior territorially. Vancouver was so good defensively, San Jose generated just 11 shots through two periods and the Sharks' best line was Andrew Desjardins, Tyler Kennedy and Mike Brown.

The Canucks force-fed the Sharks just their second outright loss this season and by doing so caught them in the Pacific Division standings, although San Jose has played two fewer games.

But what this game will be remembered for are the wacky, stunning, hilarious ways pucks found their way into the nets.

It was 1-0 San Jose after 75 seconds, before either team shot the puck on net, as Joe Thornton's tumbling slingshot towards the general area code of the Vancouver goal somehow levitated off the ice and up the back of the netting before ricocheting in off Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo.

Here is how Luongo described it: “It was a rim, first of all. It came off the boards funny, then it started climbing the net. Still no panic at this point. Once it got on top of the net I thought: 'Oh (crap), what's going on here?' I tried to put a glove on it but it kept going, and once it got over the crossbar I was in an awkward position. It's going to make for a good tweet.

“I was sick and tired of being told I get scored on on the first shot every game, so I decided to let one in even before I get a shot on goal just to change things up.”

Later in the five-goal first period, Brown, 35 games removed from his last goal and two teams removed from where he reported for this season, finished a 2-on-0 breakaway after Canuck defencemen Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Stanton appeared to skate into quicksand at centre ice.

But the Canucks retook the lead, 3-2, at 18:55 of the opening period when Sharks' defenceman Jason Demers, without pressure, passed a hopping puck into the path of streaking Canuck Alex Burrows. While the Sharks converged on Burrows, Canuck Chris Higgins emerged like a roller-derby jammer from the pack and with one touch flipped the puck over Sharks' goalie Antti Niemi.