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Sharks aiming for Pacific brim

Would gain on Kings, Ducks in division race with win against Canucks

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

SHARKS (42-28-6) at CANUCKS (27-35-13)

TV: 10 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, SNP, NHL.TV

VANCOUVER -- The San Jose Sharks already clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, but the Vancouver Canucks aren't expecting a letdown from the Sharks on Tuesday.

San Jose can improve its postseason positioning this week with two games against the Canucks, who have lost eight straight games. The Sharks trail the Anaheim Ducks by four points for second place in the Pacific Division and are five behind the first-place Kings. Passing either team over their final six games would give the Sharks home-ice advantage in the Western Conference First Round.

"They have been a successful organization for a while and the reason they are successful is their compete level," Canucks forward Sven Baertschi said. "They play hard no matter what, and I don't think they are going to take their foot off the pedal or start looking forward to the playoffs. They know if you take your foot off the pedal now, you might not be ready when the playoffs start."

The Sharks, who host the Canucks on Thursday, did not skate Tuesday morning after arriving in Vancouver after midnight. 

Goaltender James Reimer is expected to start after Martin Jones made 30 saves in the 5-2 win against the Kings. Forward Nick Spaling could return after being a healthy scratch Monday for the first time since a Feb. 22 trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Vancouver center Markus Granlund will return after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. It will be Granlund's eighth game against the Sharks this season; he faced San Jose four times before being traded to Vancouver from the Calgary Flames on Feb. 22, and three more times since then as a member of the Canucks.

"They're a tough team, big bodies and they play hard, so it's going to be a tough game," Granlund said. "It's crazy [to play the same team this often], but I like to play against those guys."

Here are the projected lineups: 

SHARKS

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Melker Karlsson - Logan Couture - Joonas Donskoi

Patrick Marleau - Chris Tierney - Joel Ward

Nick Spaling/Micheal Haley - Dainius Zubrus - Tommy Wingels

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Dylan DeMelo - Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

James Reimer

Martin Jones

Injured: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body), Matt Nieto (broken knuckle), Matt Tennyson (head)

Scratched: Nick Spaling/Micheal Haley

CANUCKS

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen

Sven Baertschi - Markus Granlund - Jake Virtanen  

Chris Higgins - Bo Horvat - Alexandre Burrows

Jared McCann - Brendan Gaunce - Emerson Etem

Ben Hutton - Nikita Tryamkin

Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber

Matt Bartkowski - Alex Biega

Jacob Markstrom

Ryan Miller

Injured: Linden Vey (upper body), Derek Dorsett (upper body), Radim Vrbata (lower body), Christopher Tanev (upper body), Luca Sbisa (upper body), Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alexander Edler (fractured tibia)

Scratched: Andrey Pedan  

Status Report: Coach Willie Desjardins said Vey, who was not on the ice for morning skate Tuesday, is "banged up" and won't play against the Sharks after playing 16 straight games and snapping a nine-game streak without a point with an assist in a 3-2 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. … Tanev won't play for the ninth time in the past 12 games but has been practicing and could return Thursday in San Jose.

Who's Hot: Pavelski has two goals and two assists during a three-game point streak, four goals and three assists in his past six games, and 10 goals and seven assists in his past 16 games.

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