GAME: San Jose Sharks (16-10-11-3) at Vancouver Canucks (22-10-6-2).
TIME: Monday, 10 p.m. EST.
Playing their best hockey of the season, the surging San Jose Sharks will
test themselves against the Vancouver Canucks in a matchup of division leaders
at General Motors Place.
The Sharks have gone 6-1-1 in their last eight games to take sole possession
of first place in the tightly packed Pacific Division. They are coming off an
impressive 3-1 win at St. Louis on Saturday.
Nicholas Dimitrakos, Marco Sturm and Todd Harvey scored for San Jose, which
has recorded at least one point in 26 of its last 31 games. The Sharks also
received a boost from backup goalie Vesa Toskala, who stopped 25 shots in his
first start since Dec. 18.
"I just have to do my best when I get a chance," said Toskala, who
improved to 7-4-4 on the season. "Fortunately, we have been winning most of
the games I've played."
San Jose, which lost 2-1 in Chicago on Friday, has not gone consecutive
games without a point since losing to Ottawa and Anaheim from Oct. 18-21.
The Canucks created some breathing room in the Northwest Division with a 3-1
win over Calgary on Saturday. Alex Auld stopped 31 shots and Markus Naslund
started a three-goal second-period outburst for Vancouver, which leads
second-place Colorado by six points and the third-place Flames by eight in the
"This was a key game, especially after (Friday) night's performance," said
Naslund, referring to a 4-2 loss to the Avalanche. "It was important for us to
come out and play the way we're supposed to, and we did that."