Canucks-Sharks Preview

The Vancouver Canucks have hit a nice stride in their last six games after getting past some early season inconsistencies.

Such success rarely surfaces in meetings with the San Jose Sharks.

The Pacific Division foes open their season series Thursday night in San Jose with the home team looking to continue an impressive run of dominance.

Over the past two seasons, these clubs have met 11 times including playoffs, and the Sharks (7-4-2) have won 10 while limiting the Canucks to 20 goals.

Still, surging Vancouver (9-4-0) should have plenty of confidence after beginning a four-game road trip with Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Colorado. The Canucks entered the second period with a two-goal deficit but won for the fifth time in six games.

"In the second we just took the game over," said center Shawn Matthias, who gave the Canucks a three-goal lead with his first of the season. "I’d like to see how long we had the puck. It seemed like we were rolling the lines and cycling the puck. All four lines were rolling."

Henrik Sedin and Derek Dorsett scored while Nick Bonino had two goals, giving him a team-leading six. The center has five goals and four assists in his last eight games to get his first season in Vancouver off to a promising start.

Bonino was drafted by the Sharks but got to know them best over five seasons with Anaheim. He has recorded eight points in his last eight games against them.

Henrik Sedin has been limited to three points in his last nine regular-season games against San Jose, while Daniel Sedin has two in the past nine matchups.

Vancouver’s hot streak has been aided by Ryan Miller, who has won six straight starts with a 1.65 goals-against average and is off to a 9-1-0 start with his new team. It’s quite the contrast from his 1-10-0 start a season ago with woeful Buffalo, which came despite him having a slightly better save percentage (.919) than his current .917.

Miller has won his last five starts against the Sharks with a 1.57 GAA, and he’s posted two shutouts in his last three visits to San Jose.

The Sharks have gotten back on track since a four-game losing streak, going 3-0-1 in their last four and getting some time off after a 3-1 win over the visiting New York Islanders on Saturday.

San Jose had dropped its previous two home games to Columbus and the Sabres, two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference to begin the season.

"That was a big win for us," forward Logan Couture told the team’s official website. "We hadn’t played very well at home other than our first game. It’s good to win at home after a long road trip. Now we have a couple of days to rest and get ready for Vancouver."

San Jose’s level of play at home won’t be an issue for another two weeks after Thursday, as the Sharks continue their road-heavy opening stretch with a seven-game trip. San Jose, which won’t be at home again until Nov. 20, plays 16 of its first 21 on the road.

Couture scored his team-leading sixth goal Saturday and has 11 points in his last six games against Vancouver. San Jose’s Joe Thornton has recorded 11 in a seven-game point streak in the series.

The Sharks’ Antti Niemi has recovered from a weak start by going 3-0-1 with a 1.68 GAA in his last four. He’s been in net for every game against Vancouver during the Sharks’ run of dominance in the series, posting a 1.85 GAA in those 11 contests.