Game 21: Canucks vs. Sharks (11.14.13)
You would think that, after having three days to sit and stew about losing back-to-back games for just the second time this season, the Canucks will be plenty motivated to put a quick end to their slump tonight before their slide reaches a season-high three games. The problem, however, is their opponent will be just as motivated to score some payback after the Canucks went into San Jose and handed the Sharks their first regulation home loss in a 4-2 victory one week ago.
While the Canucks are coming off back-to-back losses, including dropping a 3-1 decision to the Ducks on Sunday in the finale of their four-game road trip, the Sharks are looking to start trending in the right away again after snapping their five-game winless streak with a 3-2 overtime win in Calgary on Tuesday. David Booth is expected to make his return to the lineup for Vancouver and will likely slot in on the third line with Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson. This is the fourth and final meeting between the Canucks and Sharks this season. Roberto Luongo and Antti Niemi are the expected starters between the pipes as has been the case in the first three games of the season series.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
The top line produces like one. Vancouver's top trio of the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler has combined for just one assist in their last three outings. That simply can't continue if the Canucks are to get back on the winning track. Their slump began with a win against the Sharks and hopefully it will end the same way.
Louie bounces back. Vancouver's number one netminder has a perfect 3-0-0 record in games this season following an outing where he surrendered four-or-more goals. If the Canucks win tonight, he'll probably end up being the biggest reason why.
Shoot and (probably) score. In their first two games against the Canucks this season – both wins – San Jose out-shot Vancouver by a combined 64-48. In their loss last week, they were out-shot 34-24. It's no big secret with all their offensive weapons that the more they shoot, the more they'll likely score and the better their chances of winning.
By the Numbers
Points for Daniel and Henrik Sedin in the last three games combined.
Win percentage for the Canucks this season with David Booth in the lineup (6-4-1).
Goals needed by Daniel Sedin to reach 300 for his NHL career.
Game win streak for the Sharks at Rogers Arena counting regular season and playoffs.
Consecutive penalties killed by the Canucks entering play tonight dating back to Oct. 25 in St. Louis.
Average shots on goal per game for the Sharks this season. They have out-shot their opponents in 14 of 18 games played this season.