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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, November 14th (All times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (11-2-5) at Vancouver Canucks (11-7-2), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks have seen plenty of each other over the first quarter of the season.
Following Thursday night's battle in Vancouver, they won't see each other again this season unless they meet in the playoffs.
The Sharks bested the Canucks twice during their 6-0 start to the season, recording a pair of 4-1 wins. The two opened the season against each other in San Jose before meeting seven days later in Vancouver.
The Canucks finally got some payback last Thursday with a 4-2 win over the Sharks in San Jose, snapping a five-game series losing streak. They have still lost four of the past five encounters at home.
San Jose's loss last week to Vancouver was the lone regulation setback of a five-game slide the club snapped on Tuesday in Calgary. The skid featured an overtime setback and three shootout defeats, but the Sharks managed a 3-2 OT triumph against the Flames.
It wasn't pretty as the Sharks blew a two-goal lead in the third period, but escaped with the win when Joe Thornton's shot from the right circle deflected off Brad Stuart and into the net at the 1:13 mark of the extra frame.
Thornton got his second assist of the game on the play and has six points over his last five games. Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist, while Logan Couture also scored and backup netminder Alex Stalock only had to make 11 saves for the win.
"I liked that we only gave up 13 shots but it's not good that we let them get back into the game in the third," said San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. "But if you look at the whole guy, I thought it was a good effort. It would have been nice to have a few more goals, but the defense was sound."
San Jose has now split the first two contests of a five-game road trip.
The Canucks, meanwhile, went 1-2-1 on a four-game road trip, with the lone victory coming in San Jose. They concluded the swing on Sunday with a 3-1 setback versus the Anaheim Ducks.
Tom Sestito scored and Eddie Lack had 20 saves.
It was a rough trip for Vancouver's top line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler. The Sedin twins were held without a point in the final three contests after both had an assist in the first game, while Kesler had a goal and a helper in the four contests.
"It's been a struggle the past few games," Vancouver coach John Tortorella noted of his top line. "We know what they are as people. We know what they are as players. It's been a struggle the past two, three games here. They're going to bounce out of it and they're going to be the players that we know they are."
Vancouver will now begin a six-game homestand looking to improve on its 4-3-0 record as the host.
With both backups having started their respective clubs previous game, tonight's contest should feature San Jose's Antti Niemi and Roberto Luongo of Vancouver for the fourth time this season.
Niemi, who has started 16 of his club's 18 games this season, has posted a 2.48 goals against average in the three meetings in 2013-14 and is 8-7-2 with a 2.75 GAA in 17 lifetime matchups with the Canucks.
Luongo is 10-12-3 with a tie and 2.74 GAA in his career when facing the Sharks with a 3.02 GAA in the three games this season.
Thornton (1 goal, 3 assists) and Couture (4a) both have four points this season versus the Canucks, while Marleau has scored twice.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin have just one assist each over the previous three meetings, while Kesler is pointless.
11/14 10:50:02 ET