SHARKS (43-16-10) at CANUCKS (43-24-3)
Last 10: San Jose 4-5-1; Vancouver 6-3-1.
Season Series: This is the second of four meetings. On Nov. 29, Dan Boyle scored the go-ahead goal on a power play 6:15 into the second period, and Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves to lead the Sharks to a 4-2 road victory. Manny Malhotra scored on a breakaway with 2:35 left and Jamie McGinn made it 4-1 on a scramble in front 13 seconds later for San Jose. Frazer McLaren also scored his first NHL goal for the Sharks. These teams meet again on March 27 and April 8, both at San Jose.
Big Story: It's a battle of the heavyweights, as the No. 1 and 3 teams in the Western Conference meet, and both are coming off disappointing losses. San Jose's grip on the top seed in the conference is slipping, but the Canucks have gained ground on No. 2 Chicago since the Olympic break.
Sharks: This is the third game in a six-game road trip that began with a 4-2 loss against Anaheim and an 8-2 loss against Dallas.
Boyle had a power-play goal and Devin Setoguchi scored at even strength for the Sharks, who saw their first-place lead in the Western Conference shrink to two points over Chicago. San Jose is 3-3-1 since the Olympic break.
The Sharks trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes and 4-1 after 40 minutes.
"We didn't show up in the second period and they took it to us," San Jose captain Rob Blake said. "Our turnovers and sloppy play in the zone allowed them to capitalize. There's no way we thought they were going to just roll over and let us take two points. You've got to respond."
Canucks: This is the fourth game in a five-game homestand. Following wins against Ottawa (5-1) and Calgary (3-1), the Canucks lost 5-2 against the Islanders on Tuesday. Their stay at General Motors Place ends with a visit from Detroit on Saturday.
Against New York, Vancouver suffered its first loss in regulation at GM Place since Jan. 11.
"We came into the game and we weren't really respecting the opposition," Roberto Luongo said. "They came out strong, they made some plays and before we knew it, we were down 2-0. We've come back before, but it's not going to happen every game."
Trailing 3-0 in the second period, the Canucks received goals from Kyle Wellwood and Alexandre Burrows to cut the deficit to one, but they wouldn't get any closer. Islanders defenseman Freddy Meyer restored a two-goal lead with eight seconds left in the period.
Ryan Kesler had his point streak snapped at 13 games, while Mikael Samuelsson had his end at seven.
Who's Hot: For the Sharks, Joe Pavelski has 2 goals and 4 assists in four games, Patrick Marleau has 3 goals and 6 assists in six games, Joe Thornton has 2 goals and 3 assists in five games, and Ryane Clowe has a goal and 4 assists in five games. ... For the Canucks, Ryan Kesler has 6 goals and 9 assists in 14 games, Daniel Sedin has 3 goals and 14 assists in 11 games, Mikael Samuelsson has 9 goals and 4 assists in eight games, Henrik Sedin has 3 goals and 8 assists in six games, Alex Burrows has 2 goals and an assist in three games, and Alexander Edler has 2 assists in three games.
Injury Report: For the Sharks, Marc-Edoudard Vlasic (lower-body) is on injured reserve. ... For the Canucks, Willie Mitchell (concussion), Steve Bernier (groin) and Alexandre Bolduc (shoulder) are on injured reserve.
Stat Pack: Henrik Sedin set a Vancouver franchise record after recording his 416th career assist on Sunday against Calgary, accomplishing the feat in 715 games. He passed Trevor Linden. … After racking up 10 points (4-6) in four games from March 9-14, Samuelsson was named the NHL's First Star of the Week. The streak included his first career hat trick, and Samuelsson has achieved single-season career high's in goals (30) and points (53) playing in his first year as a Canuck. … Kesler's 13-game point streak, which ended Tuesday against the Islanders, is the fifth longest in the NHL this season. … The Sharks tied a franchise record with 6 goals in one period of an 8-5 home win against Nashville on March 11. Trailing 4-2 after 40 minutes, San Jose scored 6 goals in the third period, matching the record originally set on Jan. 30, 1996 against Hartford. Also, Pavelski tied the franchise record for points in a period with 4 (2-2).
Puck Drop: "We're on a good roll here but we know we have to play even better. It's important to try and win the division and get home ice for the playoffs." -- Henrik Sedin to the Vancouver Sun