Canucks-Sharks Preview

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

Canucks.

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

home.

“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

meetings since.

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.”