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Preview: Sharks at Canucks

Slumping San Jose nursing one-point lead for third place in Pacific Division

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

SHARKS (43-28-7) at CANUCKS (30-38-9)

7 p.m. ET; SN, CSN-CA+, NHL.TV

 

Sharks team scope

The San Jose Sharks have lost eight of their past nine games and lead the Calgary Flames by one point for third place in the Pacific Division after a 5-2 loss to the Flames on Friday. San Jose, which is four points behind the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks for first in the division, was 7-2-0 in its previous nine. "We know we're a better team than the record indicates," coach Pete DeBoer said after the loss in Calgary. "It was only two weeks ago we were playing some great hockey and we did for a long time so it's fixable." Goalie Martin Jones started against the Flames after playing in a 3-2 loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, the first time he started back-to-back games since mid-December, but was pulled after giving up four goals on 22 shots in two periods. "We know he's better than where he's at right now," DeBoer said. "We're not finishing for our goalies and we're not getting a big save at the right time, and that's a recipe for disaster." Jones has lost five of his past six decisions (1-5-0) with an .856 save percentage in that stretch. "We just need to execute better," Jones said. "Better execution, a little harder to play against in our own end and more big saves. … I don't think I am far off." San Jose has lost its past six games on the road but has won 10 straight in Vancouver since Jan. 21, 2012. Forward Joe Thornton is one point from passing Brett Hull (1,391) for 22nd place on the NHL all-time list.

 

Canucks team scope

Vancouver Canucks forward Loui Eriksson practiced Saturday but will be a game-time decision after missing 12 games with a knee injury. Forward Jayson Megna also practiced and is available to return after missing five games with an upper-body injury, according to coach Willie Desjardins. But Desjarsdins also indicated defenseman Alex Biega might continue to play as a fourth-line forward after praising his energy and game-high five hits during a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. Vancouver is 2-8-2 in its past 12 games and has lost 10 straight at home (0-7-3) since their last win at Rogers Arena on Feb. 18. It will be the Canucks' first game against former teammate Jannik Hansen, who was traded to the Sharks on Feb. 28 after spending parts of 10 seasons in Vancouver. "We miss him. He set a great example and we remember what he brought to the room," forward Daniel Sedin said in comments tweeted by the Canucks on Saturday. Rookie defenseman Troy Stecher, who returned Friday after missing a game with a shoulder injury, spent practice Saturday on the top line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin but didn't realize until after it was over that it was an April Fools' Day joke. "I totally forgot what day it is. When they told me, I felt so dumb," Stecher said. "I thought it was a little strange, but tried to embrace the opportunity. I was lost out there."

 

Sharks projected lineup

Melker Karlsson -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Chris Tierney -- Patrick Marleau -- Joel Ward

Jannik Hansen -- Tomas Hertl -- Mikkel Boedker

Micheal Haley -- Timo Meier -- Joonas Donskoi

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Dylan DeMelo

Injured: Logan Couture (face)

 

Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Michael Chaput

Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Brock Boeser

Reid Boucher -- Brandon Sutter -- Nikolay Goldobin

Griffen Molino -- Drew Shore -- Alex Biega

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa -- Christopher Tanev

Ben Hutton -- Nikita Tryamkin

Ryan Miller

Richard Bachman

Scratched: Jayson Megna, Philip Larsen

Injured: Loui Eriksson (knee), Joseph Cramarossa (lower body), Jack Skille (ankle), Markus Granlund (wrist surgery), Brendan Gaunce (hand), Jacob Markstrom (knee), Anton Rodin (knee), Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Derek Dorsett (neck)

 

Status report

San Jose made several lineup changes in Calgary, inserting Labanc and Sorensen to rest Ward and Donskoi, moving Tierney from fourth-line center to wing on the second line, and moving Karlsson up to play with Thornton and Pavelski. Ward and Donskoi are expected to return but San Jose did not skate Saturday so the lines are uncertain.

 

Who's hot

Marleau has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past six games. … Boeser has two goals in four games since signing with the Canucks.

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