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Canucks Report: Game Day vs Sharks

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
March 18, 2010

O'Brien

OB BACK IN

Canucks defenceman Shane O'Brien will dress tonight after being a healthy scratch the last three games.

"It's always nice to get back in,” said O’Brien. “The biggest thing you miss is just competing, being around the boys and being in the room and stuff like that. Especially this time of year, it's been such a long year and to be there for pretty much the whole season and then sit out three in a row was pretty tough. I'm just going to try to go back in, play the way I was before and do things to help the team win."

The boys were happy to hear he was going to be back in the lineup.

"It's great to have OB back in the lineup,” said Kevin Bieksa. “He's a good character guy, and he's a great guy to have in the dressing room for sure.”

O'Brien has recorded five points (1-4-5) in 58 games this season. This leaves Andrew Alberts out of the lineup today when the Canucks face the San Jose Sharks.

Darcy Hordichuk will skate tonight on the fourth line with Ryan Johnson and Rick Rypien after missing Tuesday's game against the New York Islanders leaving forward Tanner Glass out for tonight's match.

Recently recalled Michael Grabner will play his first game back with the Canucks tonight on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Pavol Demitra.

All other lines from Tuesday's game are intact.

JORDAN SCHROEDER VISITS VANCOUVER

Recently signed Jordan Schroeder flew to Vancouver and spoke to the media for the first time today since signing a professional contract.

Schroeder is exicted to join the Manitoba Moose of the AHL during their playoff push. He will play on Sunday, March 21, when the Moose take on the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Click here for the full story.

GAME DAY NOTES

Tonight the Canucks play the San Jose Sharks, a team they’ll meet three times in their last 12 games. After suffering a 5-2 loss Tuesday against the New York Islanders, the Canucks hope to bounce back with a win tonight.

The Canucks only won one game out of the four against the Sharks last season, and were defeated 4-2 earlier this season on November 29. The Sharks currently lead the Pacific division and the West with 96 points (43-16-10), two ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks (44-19-6), and seven ahead of the Canucks (43-24-3).

The Sharks led the Western Conference last season but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs in game six against the Anaheim Ducks. Like the Canucks, they’ve struggled to make it past the second round in the past five post-seasons.

The Sharks are tied for first in the League for road game wins with the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings, all with 21. They are third in the West for goals scored with 226. The Canucks are first with 230.

"I do know that they're one of the top teams in the League,” said Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault. “They're big, they have a lot of skill, and they use that size and skill really well in all three zones. There's a reason why they're the top team in our conference."

Shark forward Joe Thornton has recorded impressive numbers this season and leads the team in points with 81 (18-63-81), fifth best in the League. He is also second in the League in assists, three behind Canuck forward Henrik Sedin (28-66-94).

San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is second is the League for wins with 37. He is also fourth for save percentage with .924%, and third for saves with 1,682.

The Sharks are in an unfamiliar place after suffering losses in their last three, including an 8-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. In all three Sharks’ losses, they scored just two goals, despite averaging 3.19 goals per game (third best in the league). Ironically, in San Jose’s last win, they scored eight goals.

The Sharks average 3.98 goals in the 43 wins and just 1.88 in their 26 losses so it’s pretty obvious, where their strengths lie and what they need to do to win.

"I think they're obviously going to be very hungry after their last game and so are we, we had a little bit of a letdown,” said Bieksa. “We're ready to get back in the winning track and it's a good measuring stick to play against the best team in the NHL right now."

Winning tonight is crucial for the Canucks in order to keep hold of the Northwest division with the Colorado Avalanche only three points away with 86 (40-24-6).

CANUCKS.COM WILL STREAM ROGERS SPORTSNET CANUCKS BROADCASTS

The Canucks and Rogers Sportsnet have announced that the Canucks.com website will stream the remaining six live Rogers Sportsnet Broadcasts starting with the game on Tuesday March 23 against the Edmonton Oilers at 6pm (PT).

The live games can be found using the Canucks Game Centre Live video player on Canucks.com/livestream. The player will also have real time scores from across the NHL with current stats, text play-by-play descriptions, live shot charts and adaptive streaming to optimize performance.

GAMES TO BE STREAMED LIVE ON CANUCKS.COM

DATE OPPONENT TIME (PACIFIC)
March 23 Edmonton Oilers 6:00pm
March 30 Phoenix Coyotes 7:00pm
April 1 Los Angeles Kings 7:30pm
April 2 Anaheim Ducks 7:00pm
April 6 Colorado Avalanche 7:00pm
April 8 San Jose Sharks 7:30pm
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