If there is a defining characteristic of the Canucks so far under the leadership of new head coach Willie Desjardins, it's that they're a team that doesn't give up. Their persistence paid off on Tuesday in the opening game of their four-game road trip in Denver when they turned a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 win over the Avalanche. They'll need that same level of persistency tonight taking on a Sharks team that always seems to be at their best when they battle the Canucks. Vancouver will get a boost in the effort department with the return of Alex Burrows, who is eligible to play after serving his three-game suspension for his hit on Montreal's Alexei Emelin a week ago. Desjardins' biggest challenge might be deciding which player to take out of the lineup in order to slot Burrows back in after Tuesday's complete team effort that saw all four lines contribute to the offence.
The Sharks should be a well-rested bunch as they've been off since Saturday after knocking off the Islanders by a 3-1 score on home ice. San Jose has been a streaky team so far this season. They began the campaign with four wins in their first five games, then lost four in a row but have since bounced back with three wins in their last four outings. The Sharks gave the Canucks a rough ride in 2013.14 winning three of the four head-to-head meetings but Vancouver's lone win the season series came at the Shark Tank in their last visit there. Ryan Miller and Antti Niemi are the expected starters for their respective clubs. Miller has a career record of 7-1-1 against the Sharks with a 2.17 GAA and .932 save percentage.
Puck drop at 7:30 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet 360, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Vancouver's top guys outplay San Jose's. In last year's season series, Daniel and Henrik combined for just three assists in four games against the Sharks. By comparison, San Jose's two top centres Joe Thornton and Logan Couture combined for 10 points. As important as secondary scoring is, tonight's game will be won by the team whose top players come to play.
Weather the storm. Telling your team to get off to a strong start in enemy territory is as cliché as it gets but the Canucks better take that advice to heart tonight. San Jose has out-scored their opponents 15-2 in first periods this season. The Sharks have led or been tied after the opening period in all 13 of their games played so far.
Dan who? The Sharks let their top offensive defenceman last season, Dan Boyle, walk away in the off-season. How do they fill the void? By moving one of their top scoring forwards, Brent Burns, back there. Burns may be a defenceman once again but he clearly has an offensive mindset and especially dangerous on the rush. He has points in 11 of 13 games this season.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Canucks in their last 11 head-to-head meetings against the Sharks incl. playoffs (1 win in 11 games).
Rookies to appear in a game for San Jose this season (Mueller, Tierney, Goodrow). VAN has used two (Vey, Horvat).
Game active point streak for Sharks forward Tommy Wingels (2-2-4).
Game personal win streak for Ryan Miller, his longest since an eight-game streak from Oct. 8 to 30, 2009 (eight is career high originally set in Oct. 2006).
Games it took Nick Bonino to record six goals last season with Ducks (he finished with a career-high 22). It took him 13 games this season.
Career points for SJ's Joe Thornton and counting. Joe, and NJ's Jaromir Jagr, are the only two active players with 1200+ career points.