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Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Sharks (3.5.13)

Tuesday, 05.03.2013 / 12:00 PM / Features
By Daniel Fung
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Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Sharks (3.5.13)

Tonight’s game is presented by Save On Foods Pharmacy

Team Record: 11-6-4
Last Game: 2-4 L at Calgary (MAR.03.13)

Season Series: 0-1-0
Last Meeting: 1-4 L (JAN.27.13)
Team Record: 10-6-4
Last Game: 2-1 W vs Nashville (MAR.02.13)

Season Series: 1-0-0
Last Meeting: 4-1 W (JAN.27.13)

Storylines

The Set-Up

The Vancouver Canucks (11-6-4) will try to bounce back tonight from a disappointing 4-2 loss in Calgary on Sunday when they host the San Jose Sharks (10-6-4) at Rogers Arena.

What You Need to Know
  • The Canucks are looking to bounce back from their 4-2 loss in Calgary on Sunday. They have now lost three of their last four games (1-3-0) picking up just two of a possible eight points in the standings over those outings.
  • The Sharks are kicking off a short two-game, two-day road trip tonight that wraps up tomorrow night in Calgary. They're coming off a home win over Nashville on Saturday but have lost two straight games and six of their last seven overall (1-5-1) away from the Shark Tank. Tonight will be the only visit the Sharks make to Rogers Arena this season.
  • The Canucks have not lost in regulation in five straight home games (3-0-2) against the Sharks dating back to March 18, 2010.
  • San Jose has not won consecutive games since their seven-game win streak to start the season.
  • Tonight marks the second of three meetings between the Canucks and Sharks this season. In their first meeting back on January 27, San Jose jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the game was three-and-a-half minutes old en route to a 4-1 win at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Sharks F Joe Pavelski scored twice in the victory.
  • Speaking of Pavelski, he is one of seven players this season to score twice in a game against the Canucks this season. The others are: Daniel Winnik (ANA), Teemu Selanne (ANA), Damien Brunner (DET), Joakim Andersson (DET), Kyle Chipchura (PHX) and Mike Cammalleri (CGY).
  • Vancouver's loss to San Jose back in late January snapped an eight-game regulation undefeated streak they had going against the Sharks.
  • With G Roberto Luongo getting the loss on Sunday in Calgary, G Cory Schneider will likely get back between the pipes for the Canucks. Schneider was on record for the loss in San Jose back on January 27 allowing four goals on 27 shots although he was probably one of Vancouver's better performers that night. He has a career record of 3-2-0 versus San Jose with a 4.08 GAA and a .894 save percentage.
  • G Antti Niemi is the expected starter for the Sharks tonight. Since arriving in San Jose, he has started every single game his team has played against the Canucks which includes nine regular season games and five playoff games. He has a regular season career record of 4-6-2 against the Canucks with a 2.95 GAA and .905 save percentage.
  • Since starting the season scoring 23 goals in their first five outings (average of 4.6 goals per game), the Sharks have only tallied 21 goals in their past 15 outings (average of 1.4 per game).
Follow the Action

Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.

Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.

Keys to the Game


The Canucks Win If...

  • The Sedins step up. The twins had one of their worst outings of the season back on January 27 in San Jose as they were held point-less, managed just two combined shots, and each finished with minus-two ratings. They will clearly need to be much better than that tonight if the Canucks are to knock off the Sharks.
  • They get off to a strong start. The Canucks can't repeat their start from the last time they face the Sharks when they went down 2-0 before the game was even five minutes old. The good news for Vancouver is despite their recent struggles, they've opened the scoring in four of their last five outing. San Jose has only won twice this season when giving up the opening goal (2-3-3).
  • They don't count on any favours from the officials. Vancouver clearly hasn't been getting the benefit of many calls lately with only 10 combined power play opportunities over the last five games and, if Sunday night taught them any lessons, they'll want to do their best to stay on the referees good side...even if it was an elbow.


The Sharks Win If...

  • They find their scoring touch. A team with as many offensively-gifted players as the Sharks do shouldn't struggle the way they have to put pucks into the net lately. If they can find the same swagger that they had back in January, they could make it a long night for a Vancouver team that has surrendered 18 goals over their last four outings.
  • Their power play wakes up. One way to pick up some goals would be to make use of the man-advantage. In their first five games the Sharks had a PP efficiency rate of 37.5 percent (12-for-32). Since then, their PP efficiency rate has dropped to a dismal 7.9 percent (5-for-63).
  • They play like they're at home. The Sharks have been a much different team on the road compared to at the Shark Tank this season. Their goal-differential on the road is minus-five compared to plus-eight at home, their PP efficiency is 15.6 percent on the road versus 20 percent at home, and their PK effectiveness is just 77.8 percent on the road compared to 94.9 percent at home. Not surprisingly, they’ve won just three of three of nine games in enemy territory.

Ones to Watch

JANNIK HANSEN

After struggling through a six-game point drought to close out February, Jannik Hansen has started off March with a bang netting two goals and two assists in just two games so far. He might have had a little bit of added motivation for his strong start this month.

On Sunday morning, the day after his team's win over the Stanley Cup champions and just hours before their game against the Flames, Hansen became the proud father of twin boys, Daniel and Lucas. The two newest members of Canucks Nation will hope their dad can continue his hot run in March. If he scores tonight, he would equal a personal career-high goal streak at three games that he set back in December 2011.

Hansen was one of the few Canucks that managed to record a point against the Sharks in the first meeting of the season series this year netting an assist. In 16 career games versus San Jose, Hansen has notched three goals and seven points.

ANTTI NIEMI

The Sharks have gotten plenty of streaky performances from a number of their top stars so far this season but one player that has been consistent night in night out has been their number one netminder, Antti Niemi.

The 29-year-old's 1.83 GAA and .934 save percentage are not only among the top in the league among all netminders but are also personal career-bests far surpassing even the numbers he put up back in 2009.10 – the year he led the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup championship. That season, he appeared in 39 games and posted a 26-7-4 record with a 2.25 GAA and .912 save percentage.

Niemi will look to continue his strong season going and a repeat performance of his last outing against the Canucks would be a good way to go. He made 23 saves on 24 shots back on January 27 to lead his team to a 4-1 win over Vancouver. In 12 career regular season starts against the Canucks, Niemi has posted a 4-6-2 record with a 2.95 GAA and a .905 save percentage to go with one shutout.

Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at dfung_sports@hotmail.com.