NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, January 20th
(All times eastern)
San Jose Sharks (23-19-5) at Vancouver Canucks (29-10-7), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Sharks are in the process of recovering from a recent
six-game losing streak. A victory over the Western Conference-leading Canucks
would be a big next step.
San Jose looks to win three straight for the first time in nearly a month and
avoid a third straight setback to Vancouver tonight at Rogers Arena.
Winners of the last three Pacific Division titles, the Sharks are currently 10
games off the division pace and sit 10th overall in the conference. A six-game
slide from Jan. 3-13 did little to help things as all six setbacks came in
San Jose has begun to rebound though, posting back-to-back 4-2 victories over
the Blues and Coyotes.
Logan Couture, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton all had a goal and an assist in
Monday's win over Phoenix. Patrick Marleau also scored in his 1,000th career
game and Antti Niemi made 34 saves.
"Pucks are starting to go in the net," Heatley said. "I think we're playing
better as a team. We did a lot of real good things tonight."
Those recent wins did not stop the Sharks from tinkering with their roster.
Forwards Ben Eager and Kyle Wellwood could both make their debuts tonight
after being acquired earlier in the week.
Eager came over in a trade with Atlanta for a fifth-round draft pick in 2011,
while Wellwood was claimed off waivers on Tuesday after signing with St. Louis
the previous day.
Eager, who won a Stanley Cup with Niemi last year in Chicago, has three goals
and seven assists in 34 games this year, while Wellwood notched five goals and
three assists in 25 games with Mytishchi Atlanti of the Kontinental Hockey
League this year. He spent last season with the Canucks, posting 14 goals and
One of the two could step in for forward Scott Nichol, who begins a four-game
suspension tonight for a hit to the head of Phoenix defenseman David Schlemko.
Also, both Benn Ferriero (facial) and Ryane Clowe (undisclosed) are
questionable for tonight due to injury.
The Sharks began a stretch of playing 13 of their next 17 on the road Monday
and have won five of their last seven as the guest. Tonight, they will try to
hand the Canucks their first home regulation loss since Dec. 5.
Vancouver is 7-0-2 at Rogers Arena since that setback, but has gone 1-2-1
since its club-record 14-0-3 stretch from Dec. 8-Jan. 11. The Canucks wrapped
a five-game road trip 2-2-1 with Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado.
Alexander Edler, Ryan Kesler and Sergei Shirokov scored for the Western
Conference-leading Canucks, who with 65 points are tied with Philadelphia for
the most in the NHL. Roberto Luongo made 26 saves.
"I don't think we played our best game but at the same time, we rarely give up
three power-play goals and that's what happened tonight," said Henrik Sedin,
who was in the penalty box when Colorado netted its game-winning goal.
The Canucks still own an 11-point lead over the Avalanche for first place in
the Northwest Division.
Vancouver has won both of its meetings so far this year with San Jose, but
have still dropped 10 of the last 14 in this series. The Sharks have lost two
straight and three of their last four at Rogers Arena.
01/20 11:13:54 ET