Brad Richardson, Mike Santorelli and Zack Kassian also scored for the Canucks, who had lost all five regular season meetings between the teams the past two seasons and were swept by San Jose in the first round of the playoffs last spring.
Joe Thornton and Mike Brown scored for the Sharks, who lost their fourth straight game, but just the second in regulation all season.
Antti Niemi allowed four goals on 12 shots before being replaced early in the second period as the Canucks controlled the play for much of the first 40 minutes and weathered a strong push from San Jose in the third.
I spent a long summer thinking about that playoff series and what could have been. [The Blackhawks] ended up being the Stanley Cup champions, so we know we lost to a very good team. It's tough to know how close we were, and it motivates us for this year.
— Nashville captain Shea Weber in an interview with the Predators website