Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Sharks Game 2

Friday, 03.05.2013 / 11:39 AM / Features
By Daniel Fung
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Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Sharks Game 2

Tonight’s game is presented by PlayNow.com

Playoff Record: 0-1
Last Game: 1-3 L vs San Jose (MAY.01.13)

Season Series: 0-2-1
Playoff Series: Trail 0-1
Playoff Record: 1-0
Last Game: 3-1 W at Vancouver (MAY.01.13)

Season Series: 3-0-0
Playoff Series: Lead 1-0

Storylines

The Set-Up

The Vancouver Canucks (trail series 0-1) will look to avoid going down two-games-to-none in their best-of-seven Western Conference Quarterfinal series when they host the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 at Rogers Arena.

What You Need to Know
  • For the second year in a row - and just the second time in head coach Alain Vigneault's tenure as Canucks bench boss - Vancouver dropped their playoff opener on Wednesday falling 3-1 to the Sharks.
  • Vancouver has won just one of their last eight playoff games dating back to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. They've also lost their last five straight home playoff games dating back to Game 7 of that Cup Final series.
  • The Canucks have won just three of 12 all-time best-of-seven playoff series when losing the opening game. The last time they managed to feat was in their first round series against the Blues in 2003 when they dropped the series opener and then built a 3-1 series deficit before bouncing back and winning in seven games.
  • For the second straight year – and the fourth time in their last five playoff series – the Sharks have jumped out to a 1-0 series lead. That advantage didn't do them much good last year however as, after winning their series opener against the Blues a year ago, they dropped the next four games in a row to lose that series.
  • The Sharks have won nine of 14 all-time series where in which they've won the opening game.
  • The Canucks shuffled their forward lines at practice yesterday but as far as actual changes to the lineup goes all is expected to remain status quo both up front, on the back end, and between the pipes. G Cory Schneider did not practice yesterday so he will likely be scratched again meaning G Roberto Luongo will get the start and G Joe Cannata will serve as the back up.
  • The Sharks did not shed much light on the statuses of injured forwards Martin Havlat and Scott Gomez following their practice yesterday. Gomez was a somewhat surprise scratch for Game 1 with an undisclosed injury while Havlat left Game 1 after playing just 3:16 with a lower body injury. The Sharks are already without D Jason Demers.
  • Dating back to the regular season, in their last seven outings, the Canucks have been out-scored by a combined 15-1 in third periods.
  • The Canucks come into tonight's contest having surrendered power play goals in three straight games dating back to the regular season. This is tied for their longest streak of consecutive games with a power play goal surrendered. They began the regular season giving up a power play goal in each of their first three games.
  • Canucks D Kevin Bieksa's goal in Game 1 was his 10th career playoff goal – a goal that moved him into sole possession of first place on the franchise's all-time goals list among defenseman. He had come into these playoffs in a six-way tie with Jyrki Lumme, Mattias Ohlund, Dave Babych, Sami Salo and Ed Jovanovski on the franchise all-time list.
Follow the Action

Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on TSN. Fans in the United States can watch the game on CNBC. 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...

  • They treat this game as a must-win. Canucks' captain Henrik Sedin admitted after Thursday's loss that this game was a must-win for his team and he's not wrong. It might only be Game 2 but if Vancouver fails to even the series tonight, they face the prospect of having to win four of the next five games including two in San Jose against a Sharks team that only suffered three outright losses (regulation or overtime) on home ice.
  • They come out ready to play. Vancouver's 3-1 loss on Wednesday, in some ways, actually flattered the Canucks when you consider how strong the Sharks came out in the opening period and that the only reason the game stayed scoreless was thanks to the tremendous play of Roberto Luongo. Even though Vancouver went on to open the scoring in the second period, they know they can't afford a repeat of their first period from Game 1 tonight. They need to come out desperate, feed off the crowd's energy, test Niemi early and hopefully pump a few goals past the Sharks' netminder.
  • They don't take stupid penalties. Vancouver might have only surrendered one power play goal on four shorthanded situations in Game 1 but it was clear that having to deal with all those Sharks man-advantages took a lot out of them. They won't be able to completely avoid penalties but they can't take any needless ones either like they did on a couple of occasions on Wednesday especially knowing how much success the Sharks' power play has had against them this year.


The Sharks Win If...

  • They don't rest on their laurels. The Sharks have already accomplished what they set out to do in Vancouver and that's steal home ice advantage away from the Canucks. With that said, now that they have that advantage they won't want to just sit back and let the Canucks get back into the series especially knowing that a win tonight for them would put them firmly in control of this series.
  • The big guns continue to lead the way. At some point in this series the Sharks will need their secondary scorers to chip in, but they won't need them as critically if San Jose's top players continue to produce as they did in Game 1. If the Sharks' best players such as Marleau, Couture and Boyle continue to outplay the Canucks' best players, this series is headed back to San Jose with the Sharks up 2-0.
  • They keep the Canucks to the outside. If there's one thing the Sharks did masterfully in Game 1 particularly in the third period, it's keep the Canucks' shooters away from prime scoring positions. If they continue to do that tonight, they can pretty much count on their netminder Antti Niemi being able to turn just about everything aside.

Ones to Watch

DEREK ROY

When the Canucks brought Derek Roy into the fold on the eve of the trade deadline, they had high expectations for him to be an impact player come playoff time. He didn't exactly have a memorable performance in his Vancouver playoff debut on Wednesday – albeit very few of his teammates did either – but he should have a better opportunity to be a difference-maker tonight.

The 29-year-old Roy will move from the third line where he played on Wednesday to the second line tonight where he's expected to centre a unit consisting of Chris Higgins and Ryan Kesler. Being reunited with Higgins is especially noteworthy considering that the two seemed to have quite a bit of chemistry when skating with one another during the regular season.

Tonight will be just Roy's ninth playoff game in the last four years. He's looking to record his first playoff point since April 26, 2011 when he drew an assist as a member of the Sabres in a first-round playoff game against the Flyers. Roy has amassed seven goals and 25 points in 42 career playoff games. All of those goals and the majority of those points (22) came in his first two trips to the post-season in 2005.06 and 2006.07 with Buffalo.

PATRICK MARLEAU

Scott Perhaps the best sign for the Sharks in their Game 1 victory on Wednesday was that the player who put the final dagger into the Canucks' collective hearts was the oft-criticized Patrick Marleau.

The former Sharks captain, who started the regular season like a house on fire netting nine goals and 14 points in his first six outings before tailing off significantly, began his post-season on a strong note by scoring a third period marker in Game 1. The tally not only snapped an eight-game goal drought he had to end the regular season but also snapped a five-game playoff point drought. Marleau did not manage a single point in the Sharks' five-game series loss to the Blues during last year's playoffs.

Marleau will look to have another big impact on the scoresheet against tonight when he leads the Sharks into Game 2 against the Canucks. With his goal on Wednesday, Marleau extended his playoff point streak against Vancouver to six games. He has recorded a point in every single playoff game he has played against the Canucks netting a combined five goals and eight points.

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.