The Vancouver Canucks (10-5-2) look for their first win on their current four-game road trip tonight when they visit extremely hostile territory to take on the San Jose Sharks (10-1-4).
There really is no easy game for the Canucks on their current road swing which began with a 3-2 shootout loss on Tuesday in Phoenix and will see them make visits to Los Angeles and Anaheim over the weekend but perhaps no stop is more daunting than the one tonight in San Jose. The Sharks have absolutely owned the Canucks in recent meetings and already own two victories over Vancouver this season while out-scoring them by an 8-2 margin.
San Jose figures to be an especially ornery bunch as they come into tonight's tilt winless in their last three games, including falling 5-4 in a shootout to the sad-sack Sabres on Tuesday, despite still managing to pick up points in all three of those outings. San Jose has yet to lose in regulation on home ice this season compiling a record of 5-0-2 at the Shark Tank. Roberto Luongo and Antti Niemi are expected to go head-to-head between the pipes as has been the case in both of the previous games so far in the season series.
Puck drop at 7:30 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey, THE TEAM 1040, or online at www.teamradio.ca.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Don't play afraid. The Sharks may have the Canucks' number lately but Vancouver can't approach this game like they're playing not to lose. They must find a way to counter the Sharks' attack-oriented approach and keep the puck away from San Jose as much as possible.
2. Beware the quick-strike offence. The Sharks are not only one of the top-scoring teams in the league but their goals seem to come in bunches at a time. The Canucks have to be very mindful of San Jose's ability to turn a deficit into an advantage or turn a one-goal game into a blowout within minutes and sometimes even seconds.
3. Get the power play going. The Sharks are 0-for-11 so far in the season series on the power play. The law of averages says this will turn around at some point. San Jose's power play has more than enough weapons to make teams pay for their penalties and that's what they've been doing to everyone else other than Vancouver this season clicking at 20.3 percent efficiency.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Sharks had plenty to celebrate in the month of October. Not only did they win 10 of 13 games played (10-1-2), but two of their players were honoured for personal feats as goalie Antti Niemi was named the NHL's Third Star of the Month while forward Tomas Hertl was named the NHL Rookie of the Month.
This marks the first time in Sharks' franchise history that they have had a player/star of the month and a rookie of the month in the same month. Hertl, meanwhile, is the sixth Sharks rookie in team history to earn a Rookie of the Month acknowledgement joining Logan Couture, Evgeni Nabokov (twice), Marco Sturm and Rob Gaudreau.
1 – Time in the last 7 games San Jose has scored 4 or more goals. They scored 4-or-more in 6 of their first 8 games.
3 – Game winless streak for the Sharks, their longest since a 4-game streak from March 6 to 12.
9 – Straight wins for the Sharks over the Canucks counting regular season and playoffs.
12 – Game point streak for Henrik Sedin coming into tonight's game (3-11-14), a personal career-high.
100 – All-time meetings between the Canucks and Sharks in the regular season play counting tonight's game.
101 – Combined shots the Sharks have had over their last two games.
IN THE INFIRMARY
For the Canucks…
For the Sharks…
F Brent Burns (upper body) is out. F Adam Burish (lower body) and F Raffi Torres (right knee surgery) are on the injured reserve list.
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