The San Jose Sharks are looking to continue to roll with the
fewest regulation home losses in the NHL.
The Vancouver Canucks hope to put aside an ugly eight minutes
that ended their six-game win streak.
The Sharks have taken the first two matchups this season as they
seek to win their fifth straight Monday night against the visiting
San Jose (17-11-6) never led until the end of Saturday’s 3-2
shootout win over Phoenix. Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
each had tying goals while Logan Couture had the lone tally for
either team in the shootout as the Sharks improved to 11-1-4 at
“I think the confidence is going up. From where it was at the
low point, you can feel it going up,” coach Todd McLellan said. “A
lot of good things were said, as soon as we go down. Guys stuck
with the game plan for the most part.”
Pavelski has six points during a four-game run after he went
eight games without a point. He has benefited from being shifted to
the third line alongside T.J. Galiardi and James Sheppard.
“He’s done what we’ve asked him to do,” McLellan said. “He’s
gone onto that line and there’s a reason why Gali (Galiardi) is
probably playing better too. They’re meshing well.”
Playoff positioning is at stake with Vancouver (19-10-6) in
fourth place in the Western Conference with 44 points and San Jose
in sixth with 40. The Canucks are tied for the Northwest Division
lead with Minnesota, which has played one fewer game.
Vancouver will complete a two-game trip after a stunning 4-0
loss at Edmonton on Saturday. All the goals came in the first 7:53,
with Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo each allowing two.
“It was an ugly first 10 minutes, but after that we had some
push-back and settled the game down,” Schneider said.
“Unfortunately the damage had been done already. Maybe it’s a good
wakeup call for us.”
Schneider has started the first two meetings with San Jose, a
4-1 road loss Jan. 27 and a 3-2 shootout defeat March 5. Luongo is
7-1-2 with a 2.06 goals-against average in his last 10 starts
against the Sharks, including the postseason.
The Sharks have historically had trouble against the Sedin
brothers, who combined for 29 points against them in 2010-11
including the playoffs. The duo has combined for five points in six
San Jose has yielded four power-play goals in 50 chances at home
while Vancouver owns one of the league’s worst road power plays at
11.1 percent. The Canucks are 0 for 12 with the man advantage in
the season series.
Vancouver played 16 games last month and San Jose 15. The
Canucks will get their first two-day break between games in over
three weeks after Monday.
“This has been one of the toughest grinds since I’ve been here,”
coach Alain Vigneault told the Canucks’ official website. “We’ve
had some in the past – the Olympic year there were some moments
when there were some huge challenges – but this is as hard as it
gets both physically and mentally.”