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Sharks aim for second straight vs. Canucks

by Brian Hunter

SHARKS (10-6-4) at CANUCKS (11-6-4)


Last 10: San Jose 3-4-3; Vancouver 4-4-2

Season series: Second of three meetings. Joe Pavelski had a pair of goals, including the game-winner, as the Sharks topped the Canucks 4-1 at HP Pavilion on Jan. 27.

Big story: San Jose's previous win against Vancouver was part of a 7-0 month of January for the Sharks. They went 2-6-4 during a dreadful February, but recorded a one-goal victory Saturday over Nashville to get March started on the right foot. The Canucks have been up and down of late, but still hold a two-point lead atop the Northwest Division standings.

Team Scope:

Sharks: Nine of San Jose's next 11 games will be played on the road, including this quick trip through western Canada that finishes Wednesday in Calgary. The Sharks persevered for a 2-1 win over a Predators team that prides itself on defensive and goaltending, peppering Pekka Rinne with 39 shots and breaking through twice on the power play. Joe Thornton set up both goals, by Dan Boyle in the first period and Pavelski in the second, and although the Sharks yielded a shorthanded goal in the third they shut the door, as Antti Niemi finished with 18 saves.

"If you get that many shots, you're bound to score more goals," said Logan Couture, who also had two assists. "We had a lot of good looks, a lot of wraps and jams, which we wanted to going into tonight, and we need to build off that. They're a good defensive team, Nashville. They got a great goalie. So if we get 40 shots every night, I think we're going to score more than two."

Canucks: It's the third game in four nights for Vancouver, which got mixed results over the weekend. After snapping the Kings' five-game winning streak in convincing fashion Saturday night, the Canucks had travel issues getting to Calgary and then let a pair of leads slip away in falling 4-2 to the Flames on Sunday. Jannik Hansen set up Chris Higgins' first-period goal and scored one of his own in the second, but the Canucks lost for the third time in four outings.

"I don't think it's a game that got away," coach Alain Vigneault told the Vancouver Sun. "I'm real proud of the way we competed and battled tonight. We came here under different circumstances, never used excuses, went out and played real hard and in my opinion we deserved a better outcome."

Who's hot: Thornton has a goal and six assists during a six-game points streak for the Sharks. Couture has two goals and two assists during a three-game points streak. Niemi has allowed two goals or fewer in 12 of his 17 starts. … Henrik Sedin (1-5-6) and Higgins (3-1-4) have four-game points streaks active for the Canucks. Hansen has consecutive games with a goal and an assist.

Injury report: San Jose forward Martin Havlat is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Brent Burns (lower body) and forward Tommy Wingels (upper body) are on injured reserve. … Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa (groin) is day-to-day. Forwards Manny Malhotra (eye) and Ryan Kesler (foot) are on injured reserve.

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