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Preview: Sharks at Canucks

Vancouver without five players because of mumps; Joe Thornton of San Jose goes for 1,000th NHL assist

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

SHARKS (35-18-7) at CANUCKS (26-28-6)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, CSN-CA, NHL.TV


Sharks team scope

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton is two assists from becoming the 13th player to reach 1,000 in his NHL career, and he could reach that milestone against the Vancouver Canucks. The last time San Jose played in Vancouver, on Feb. 2, Patrick Marleau scored his 500th NHL goal during a 4-1 win. "The first one was great," Thornton said. "There's not too many guys that have done it, so it's a good list to be on." The Sharks, who lead the Pacific Division, return from a five-day break. "It's a nice luxury to have," Thornton said. "But we have to pick up where we left off, stay hungry." Forward Joonas Donskoi didn't make the trip to Vancouver because he has the flu. San Jose has won nine straight regular-season games in Vancouver dating to March 5, 2013. "I don't think that's just a fluke," coach Peter DeBoer said. "They feel a confidence and we have to make sure we don't misplace that confidence."


Canucks team scope

The Canucks will be missing five players because of the mumps. Defenseman Troy Stecher has the only confirmed case, but centers Markus Granlund and Michael Chaput, as well as defensemen Christopher Tanev and Nikita Tryamkin, have shown symptoms. Players thought to possibly have the disease were to be quarantined for a five-day period from the onset of symptoms, or until test results prove negative. "I think it will be unlikely [Tanev] will play just given everything," coach Willie Desjardins said. Vancouver called up forward Alexander Grenier and defenseman Even McEneny from Utica of the American Hockey League on Friday, and forward Joseph Labate and defenseman Jordan Subban on Saturday. McEneny, an undrafted free agent signed in 2012, will make his NHL debut. He has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 43 games with Utica this season. "It's a dream come true," McEneny, 22, said. "I grew up watching 'Hockey Night in Canada' and couldn't be a bigger stage to be my first game." Vancouver is nine points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "It's about playing within our system and then it shouldn't matter who is in the lineup we're going to have a chance," captain Henrik Sedin said.


Sharks projected lineup

Kevin Labanc -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Tomas Hertl -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Barclay Goodrow -- Micheal Haley -- Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Heed

Injured: Joonas Donskoi (flu), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist)


Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Alexandre Burrows

Loui Eriksson -- Bo Horvat -- Jannik Hansen

Joseph Labate -- Brandon Sutter -- Jayson Megna

Reid Boucher -- Brendan Gaunce -- Alexandre Grenier

Alexander Edler -- Philip Larsen

Luca Sbisa -- Evan McEneny

Ben Hutton -- Alex Biega

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Jordan Subban

Injured: Troy Stecher (mumps), Markus Granlund (mumps symptoms), Michael Chaput (mumps symptoms), Nikita Tryamkin (mumps symptoms), Christopher Tanev (mumps symptoms), Jack Skille (groin), Sven Baertschi (concussion), Anton Rodin (knee), Erik Gudbranson (wrist surgery), Derek Dorsett (neck surgery)


Status report

DeMelo is 7-10 days from returning from a broken wrist. ... The Sharks recalled Labanc, Goodrow and Heed from the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL on Saturday. Labanc was on the Sharks' top line before being sent to the AHL for the break. ... Forwards Nikolay Goldobin and Timo Meier, as well as defenseman Marcus Sorensen, also were sent to the AHL during the break. … Grenier played six games with the Canucks last season. "Previous experiences were really nerve-wracking," he said. "Now that you have the chance to get feel of it, get the energy, get the vibes, I'm feeling a lot more confident in this one."


Who's hot

Burns has seven points (five goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak and is third in NHL scoring with 64 points (27 goals, 37 assists) in 60 games entering play Saturday. … Horvat has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past five games.

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