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Canucks try to cool off red-hot Sharks

by John Kreiser

CANUCKS (2-1-1) at SHARKS (4-0-0)

TV: SNET-West; CSN-California

Season series: It's the first of three meetings this season, with two scheduled for the Shark Tank. Vancouver won three of four games last season, including both visits to San Jose.

Big story: Both teams are coming off shutout victories in which they were dominant. The Canucks will try to slow down the unbeaten Sharks, who've won all four of their games by two or more goals.

Team scope:

Canucks: Revenge is sweet, as the Canucks proved on Friday night. Six days after they were embarrassed by Anaheim in their season-opener at Rogers Arena, the Canucks returned the favor with a 5-0 victory at Anaheim, spoiling the Ducks' home opener.

"They came into our barn on our opening night and gave it to us pretty good," said forward Mason Raymond, who scored twice. "For us, I think we did a good job. I think we had something to prove. We wanted to get back to what we thought we could do."

Perhaps the best news for the Canucks was the play of goaltender Cory Schneider, who surrendered five goals on 14 shots to the Ducks on opening night but has bounced back with consecutive wins, including his fifth career shutout on Friday.

Sharks: It's hard to have a better first week than the Sharks, who've blitzed their first four opponent thanks to the dynamic duo of Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. Marleau scored two goals in Saturday's 4-0 drubbing of Colorado to become the first player in 95 years to start the season with four straight two-goal games.

"I'll keep taking them if they keep coming that's for sure," he said. "I'm not going to get greedy, just take them as they come. Trying to do the same thing, work and go to the same areas. It's good that we're winning and things are going well right now."

Most of Marleau's goals, including the two on Saturday, have come on assists by captain Joe Thornton, who leads the NHL with nine helpers, one more than fellow Shark Joe Pavelski. Thornton and Marleau share the scoring lead with 11 points.

Who's hot: Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist on Friday and has points in all four of the Canucks' games so far. … Antti Niemi is expected to start in goal for the Sharks after Thomas Greiss blanked Colorado on Saturday. Niemi has won all three of his starts.

Injury report: Vancouver is still without center Ryan Kesler, who's recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and forward David Booth (groin). … San Jose has been thriving despite the absence of defensemen Brent Burns (lower body) and Jason Demers (wrist). Both are listed as day to day.

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