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Game P1: Canucks vs. Sharks (09.23.14)

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
A new era of Canucks hockey begins tonight on two pre-season fronts as one split-squad team will host the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena, while another other split-squad roster will head to Stockton, California to battle the other half of the Sharks.

Whether you're a Canuck taking part in the game at Rogers Arena or Stockton Arena tonight, the goal is the same – make an impression. With two games taking place on the same night, it means the majority of the 58 players still remaining in camp will have an opportunity to dress for a game. The same opportunity might not arise again for some of the players in the final five pre-season contests. Tonight's two tilts will be especially critical for youngsters such as Bo Horvat, Hunter Shinkaruk, Linden Vey and Frank Corrado, all of whom are hoping to land a spot on the opening night roster. Fans in Vancouver will have a chance to see the four aforementioned prospects, along with newcomers Radim Vrbata and Derek Dorsett, tonight at Rogers Arena. New goaltender Ryan Miller is not expected to dress for either game tonight.

The Sharks are a team going through a few changes. Like the Canucks, there was plenty of off-season activity involving San Jose although it wasn't so much in terms of players being brought in or shipped out as opposed to an internal change. The Sharks start the pre-season with no official leaders on their roster after stripping the captaincy from Joe Thornton along with the 'A' from Patrick Marleau. One player to keep an eye out on is Brent Burns, the defenceman-turned-forward-turned-defenceman who will be counted on this season to fill the void left by the departure of Dan Boyle. This is the Sharks' first game action since their epic playoff collapse last season against the Kings when they became just the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 playoff series lead to lose.

Puck drop at 6 pm PT for the game at Rogers Arena – Live on Sportsnet 360, TSN 1040, or online at tsnradiovancouver.ca.The game taking place at Stockton Arena will face off at 7:30 pm PT.

Pre-Season Record

0-0-0 0-0-0

2013.14 Season Series

1-2-1 3-1-0

All-time Series

48-38-15 44-43-14
 

Keys to the Game

Showcase your skill. New bench boss Willie Desjardins has an affinity for up-tempo hockey so, if you want to get into his good books, proving you have a scoring touch would be a great way to win his support and perhaps a roster spot on opening night.

Build chemistry. The Canucks have made it a stated goal in training camp to find line combinations that will work once the real games begin. With that said, expect to see a few lines tonight that could resemble what we see on opening night. The quicker they gel, the better chance we'll see them again on October 8.

A leader steps up. The Sharks obviously felt it was poor leadership that contributed to their playoff downfall. Coach Todd McLellan will be on the lookout for players that step up and show they want the team to rally behind them.


By the Numbers

.456

Vancouver's all-time win percentage in pre-season. The Canucks' all-time pre-season record is 154-151-33.

.927

Antti Niemi's save percentage against the Canucks last season.

2

UFAs signed by Vancouver this summer: Ryan Miller (STL) and Radim Vrbata (ARI).

4

UFAs signed by San Jose this summer: Taylor Fedun (EDM), John Scott (BUF), Michael Haley (NYR) and Bryan Lerg (COL).

50

Players invited to Sharks' main camp. The Canucks opened their main camp with 61 players.

1513

Kilometres between Vancouver, BC and Stockton, CA where tonight's two games will be held.

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