The San Jose Sharks have lost four in a row and eight of their last 10 to the Vancouver Canucks. With five days to stew following Wednesday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Canucks, the Sharks will look to exact some revenge when they travel to British Columbia for Monday's return match.
Rogers Arena doesn't bring about positive memories for Sharks coach Todd McLellan and his team, which dropped all three playoff matches there in last season's Western Conference finals. Despite their recent troubles, defenseman Dan Boyle isn't waving the white flag. "Even though our record is pretty bad against them the last 10 games or so, we play them pretty tough," Boyle said. Vancouver suffered just its fifth loss in 20 games following a clunker on New Year's Eve.
Defenseman Kevin Bieksa extended his points streak to six games by scoring his team's lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. As San Jose fans are well aware, Bieksa was the one who netted the series-clinching tally in double overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals last spring.
San Jose Sharks (19-11-4): G Antti Niemi turned aside 27 shots on Wednesday, but fell for the second time in as many games this season versus the Canucks. The Stanley Cup-winning netminder is a paltry 2-5-2 with a 3.19 goals-against average in his career versus Vancouver. C Logan Couture has scored a goal in his last four contests and has seven points in as many games. Couture leads the Sharks with 16 goals. D Douglas Murray returned to the ice following a 10-game absence with a wrist injury.
Vancouver Canucks (24-13-2): Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis knows what he has in G Cory Schneider (8-5-0, 2.16 GAA). With that in mind, Gillis told the Vancouver Sun that he is not exactly champing at the bit to trade the former first-round netminder. "He's not a guy that I would ever be eager to trade," Gillis said. "But there is going to come a point where he is going to have higher expectations in terms of games played, and if we can't deliver that, then something will have to give at some point in time." Vezina Trophy finalist Roberto Luongo (16-8-2, 2.50 GAA) has started seven straight games for the Canucks.
San Jose has the
NHL's third-worst penalty kill with a 75.2 percent conversion rate. The Sharks
will be put to the test by Vancouver, which boasts the league's best power play
2. Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin secured at least one point in all but three games in December. As a result, Sedin pulled ahead of Philadelphia's Claude Giroux for the NHL lead with 46 points.
NHL PREDICTION: Canucks 3, Sharks 2
antti niemi - cory schneider - dan boyle - douglas murray - henrik sedin - logan couture - mike gillis - rogers arena - san jose sharks - todd mclellan