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Preview: Sharks at Canucks

San Jose's Patrick Marleau goes for 500th goal; Vancouver tries to stay hot at home

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

SHARKS (32-17-2) at CANUCKS (23-21-6)

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

Sharks team scope

Patrick Marleau is one goal away from 500 in the NHL. The forward would like to reach the milestone against the Vancouver Canucks, if only because he'd rather not talk about it much longer. Marleau scored his 499th NHL goal to help the San Jose Sharks defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Tuesday. "Definitely want to get it as soon as possible," Marleau said. "It means you have been around for a while, you think, and you've done something right, I guess. It's one of those things you don't really like to talk about." Marleau, who has six goals and one assist during a four-game point streak, said the milestone means more because he's closing on it with the Sharks playing well. San Jose is 7-1-0 in its past eight games and in first place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks. "You are able to feel good about both your game and the team's game," Marleau said. Top-line left wing Tomas Hertl will play his third game since returning from knee surgery that kept him out for 32 games. Hertl scored the game-winning goal against Chicago with 2:03 left and has five goals in 19 games after scoring 21 goals last season. "He's a very significant piece for us," coach Peter DeBoer said.


Canucks team scope

Vancouver is happy to be back home for its first game since a 3-0 road loss against the Arizona Coyotes last Thursday when it was outshot 31-19. Vancouver is 7-0-1 in its past eight games at Rogers Arena, has not lost at home in regulation since Dec. 22, and is 17-6-3 at home this season. "It's good for us to start at home," center Bo Horvat said. "We are a little bit more comfortable at home, especially against these great teams coming in off the break." The Canucks are 9-3-3 in their past 15 games and are three points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with three games in hand. Of Vancouver's remaining 32 games, five are against the Sharks, who have won eight consecutive regular-season games in Vancouver dating to Jan. 21, 2012. "This is going to be the story of our season," defenseman Christopher Tanev said, "so we have to play well and prove to the rest of the League that we belong."


Sharks projected lineup

Tomas Hertl -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Kevin Labanc -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Timo Meier -- Ryan Carpenter -- Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Micheal Haley, Tim Heed

Injured: Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (wrist)


Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Loui Eriksson

Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Alexandre Burrows

Markus Granlund -- Brandon Sutter -- Jayson Megna

Brendan Gaunce -- Michael Chaput -- Jack Skille

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa -- Christopher Tanev

Nikita Tryamkin -- Philip Larsen

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Reid Boucher, Alex Biega

Injured: Anton Rodin (knee), Ben Hutton (hand), Jannik Hansen (knee), Erik Gudbranson (wrist surgery), Derek Dorsett (neck surgery)


Status report

Donskoi will miss his fourth straight game and didn't travel to Vancouver. "He's probably another week or so," DeBoer said when asked about a return date. … Hansen, who has missed 16 games with a sprained knee, rejoined the Canucks in practice this week wearing a brace and hopes to return Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.


Who's hot

Burns has six goals and 12 assists in his past 13 games and leads NHL defensemen with 53 points in 51 games. ... Couture has three goals and four assists during a six-game point streak. … Miller has allowed six goals in his past four starts.

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