Programming note – San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks – 4:00pm; Pregame Live at 3:30pm and Postgame Live immediately following the game
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 43-28-7, 93 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Canucks: 30-38-9, 69 points, 6th Pacific Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***If there’s one team that the Sharks might like to see in the midst of their dramatic free fall, it’s the Canucks. San Jose has won all three games against Vancouver in regulation this season by a combined 11-3 score, including a 3-1 win at Rogers Arena exactly one month ago. Tonight is the first of a home-and-home.
While the Sharks don’t have a right to take anyone for granted at this point, having lost eight of their last nine, the Canucks are just 2-8-2 in their last 12 games including three straight losses.
The Sharks are four points behind the Oilers and Ducks in the division, and one point ahead of the Flames, with four games remaining for each. San Jose closes out the season with a three-game homestand this week against Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
***The Sharks’ special teams numbers have been particularly poor since the end of February. The power play checks in at 14.0 percent since Feb. 28, while the penalty kill is 76.1 percent. Entering last night’s games, those ranked 22nd and 24th in the league, respectively, over that span.
San Jose’s overall power play percentage of 16.8 (24th in the NHL) would be its lowest since the 2003-04 season (16.6 percent). The Sharks have had just four games this season with multiple power play goals – they’ve never had fewer than seven such games in a season in their history.
***The Sharks did not have a morning skate due to the early start, so no word on whether Joonas Donskoi and Joel Ward will return to the lineup after they sat in Calgary on Friday. Asked about his lineup decisions after the game, coach Pete DeBoer said: “Back-to-back, we’re at the end of a tough month. We’re dealing with a lot of little nagging injuries.
“We’ve got some fresh legs in here, and I thought the kids actually played well. I thought [Kevin] Labanc and [Timo] Meier both had quality chances. I thought [Marcus] Sorensen did a real good job with his speed. So, I thought those guys contributed for us tonight.”
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Although his defensive game seems to have regressed in recent months, Vlasic brings a three-game point streak into tonight (1g, 2a). Still, the 30-year-old will likely have to be better in his own zone for the Sharks to start winning again. Among the 20 Sharks players that have skated in at least 30 games this season, Vlasic’s shot-attempt percentage in close games is 17th (49.66).
Canucks: Nikolay Goldobin. The Sharks’ former first rounder that was dealt to Vancouver for Jannik Hansen had a goal in his Canucks debut on March 4, but hasn’t gotten on the scoresheet since in nine games. If he’s in the lineup, Goldobin will be playing for the first time against his former club.
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Jannik Hansen – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Patrick Marleau – Chris Tierney – Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen – Micheal Haley – Timo Meier
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Michael Chaput
Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Brock Boeser
Nikolay Goldobin – Brandon Sutter – Reid Boucher
Griffen Molino – Drew Shore – Alex Biega
Alex Edler – Troy Stacher
Luca Sbisa – Chris Tanen
Ben Hutton – Nikita Tryamkin
Sharks: Logan Couture (face) is out.
Canucks: Loui Eriksson (leg), Brendan Gaunce (upper body), Joe Cramarossa (foot), Jason Megna (upper body) and Jack Skilled (ankle) are day-to-day. Derek Dorsett (back surgery), Erik Gudbranson (wrist) Anton Rodin (knee), Jacob Markstrom (lower body), Marcus Granlund (wrist) are out.
“The difference is so small. You’ve just got to stay positive, stay confident, keep doing what we do. Those are things that we say when we’re doing things well. When you’re not, you’ve got to do the same things. It’s a small difference.” – Brent Burns