VANCOUVER (22-12-2) vs. SHARKS (19-11-3)
on Comcast SportsNet California at 7 p.m.
SAN JOSE The Vancouver Canucks are on a roll.
A league-leading power play has helped the Canucks to a 13-3-1 record in their last 17 games, as they visit the Sharks tonight at HP Pavilion. Vancouver sports an even 25-percent success rate with a man advantage, more than three percentage points higher than the second place Nashville Predators (21.6 percent).
Theyve got different looks. Obviously, the Sedins are pretty creative out there, defenseman Dan Boyle said. Theyre a big reason for it, but the guys on the blue line can shoot the puck pretty good. They have a lot of skill and a lot of creativity out there.
The identical twins Boyle is referring to, Henrik and Daniel, have identical power play numbers as well. The Canucks leading scorers each have six goals and 12 assists when on a man advantage.
They support each other really well and read off of each other, Douglas Murray said. They have solutions for a lot of situations they get into, and theyre creative.
RELATED: Handzus mentoring McGinn toward career year
Still, the Canucks have failed to score a power play goal in six of their last seven games, going 2-for-15 over that span. That could help the Sharks penalty kill gain confidence, which is still 28th in the league at 75.2 percent and dead last at home (72.1 percent).
Todd McLellan would rather not give the Canucks a chance to get their power play humming again, though. Discipline will be key, as far as staying out of the penalty box.
Check properly, use your legs instead of your stick, dont reach, no retaliation, that type of stuff, said the coach.
On the other side, the Sharks power play has struggled since they last saw the Canucks on Nov. 26 a 3-2 win for Vancouver at HP Pavilion. San Jose entered that game with the fifth ranked power play in the league at 22.2 percent, but a 4-for-45 stretch over the last 14 games has dropped them down to 13th in the NHL (18 percent).
Lack of opportunity, and we havent earned enough power play chances in the game to gather any type of rhythm, McLellan said.
Murrays return: Murray will return to the Sharks lineup tonight after missing the last 10 games with a right hand injury. But, he didnt want to admit that to a Vancouver reporter this morning.
Its actually my left toe, not my wrist, so you can report that over there, he joked.
The beneficial part of Murrays injury is that hes been able to keep up his cardio, so McLellan wont have to limit his minutes against Vancouver.
I dont think hell have any issue physically, McLellan said. Hes probably skated more now than he has in his life. His fitness part of it and the ability to play the minutes is fine. It will be his reads, his anticipation, his puck skills. Tough team to come back against, but I dont worry about his lungs or his legs at all.
Murray said: Theyre a hot team right now, so you might as well get going and get your legs moving right away.
Targeting McGinn? Sharks forward Jamie McGinn was labeled a Canuck hunter after the previous game, when he knocked Canucks defenseman Alex Edler from the game with a hard check along the boards.
Edler didnt miss any time after that, but after what McGinn did to Vancouver in last years Western Conference finals, is he worried about any retaliation tonight?
RELATED: McGinn labeled a 'Canuck hunter' by Vancouver newspaper
Not so much.
Im just going to continue playing my game, and I think those were pretty clean hits, and it was just a freak accident that they got hurt, McGinn said. Im just going to continue to do what I do, and play hard.
McGinn has been providing valuable secondary scoring for the Sharks recently, with six goals and three assists in his last 12 games.
Finishing strong at home: The Sharks conclude their six-game homestand tonight looking for their fifth win.
A 5-1 record looks much healthier than 4-2, especially when you consider that the Sharks will have four days off between tonights game and Jan. 2 when they visit Vancouver.
That would be huge for us. Five out of six looks a whole lot better than four out of six, McGinn said. I think its critical to have a great home record, especially in front of these fans. Theyre great every year and we want to reward them with wins.
McLellan sounds like hell hammer home that point to his team prior to the game.
We know that anything less than an A-game will send us on the road with a 4-2 record. An A-game gives us an opportunity to be successful. Just like going on the Christmas break, youd like to leave your home arena when you leave on a road trip with a win, he said.
Thats what were showing up for and thats what were going to compete for, and at the end of the night we want to look up at the scoreboard and make sure that happens.
Odds and ends: Roberto Luongo will face Antti Niemi in net. Cory Schneider got the win on Nov. 26 for Vancouver, making 43 saves. Luongo is 8-1-1 in his last 10 games. Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are tied for the Sharks team lead in goals with 15 each. Colin White is out for the Sharks with a lower body injury. Aaron Rome (thumb) and David Booth (knee) remain out for Vancouver.