San Jose will take on Vancouver in the first of a home-and-home set against their divisional foe.
Fresh off a hard-fought battle against the Los Angeles Kings last night, the San Jose Sharks will travel to Vancouver for the final time this season to due battle against a struggling Vancouver Canucks squad.
After three unsuccessful attempts, team teal was finally able to secure their playoff spot with an impressive victory over L.A., using three third-period goals to take down the division leaders. Now, the Sharks must regroup and be ready to go against a Canucks team that is reeling at the moment.
Vancouver has lost eight-straight games, while being shutout in four of those contests. The Canucks are limping to the finish line and can’t wait for this season to be in the books.
This will be the fourth meeting between these two, with San Jose owning a 2-1 season advantage. The Sharks and Canucks will complete their season series with a matchup at SAP Center on Thursday night.
Players to Watch
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Sharks: Tomas Hertl. It’s been quite the bounce back year for Hertl who’s established new career-highs in goals (19), assists (25) and points (44) this season. While it’s certainly helped playing alongside Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, Hertl is emerging as a dynamic offensive weapon with his ability to protect the puck and get to the net. In the three previous meetings against Vancouver, Hertl has registered two goals and one assist and will be looking to add to his totals tonight.
Canucks: Jannik Hansen. For a team that has struggled all season long, Hansen has been one of the few bright spots in Vancouver this year. He leads the Canucks by far with a plus-16 rating and his 19 goals are a new career high for the 30-year-old Swede. His speed is his biggest asset and the Sharks will likely have to deal with it all night long.
Keys to the Game
1. Get Emotionally Involved
After a physical battle against the Kings and clinching a playoff spot, it’s natural to let your guard down. The Sharks need to get emotionally involved as quickly as possible to put last night’s game behind them. With the Canucks playing so poorly, San Jose doesn’t want to give Vancouver any signs of life or energy.
2. Play The Same Game
The Sharks played one of their better all-around games against Los Angeles, and they will look to build off that game tonight. Team teal was strong in the faceoff dot, strong defensively and their goaltending was there when a lapse occurred. San Jose wants to continue exhibiting good habits and ensure they feel confident in their style of play heading into the postseason.
3. Set The Tone
With both teams squaring off against one another in their next two contests, the Sharks will want to set the tone that will hopefully carry over. Establish your game and make life difficult for a Vancouver team that can’t wait for the end of the season to come.
TV: CSN-California (7:00 p.m. PDT)
Radio: 98.5 KFOX