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Sharks aim to continue domination of Canucks

by Matthew Mankiewich

CANUCKS (10-5-2) at SHARKS (10-1-4)


Last 10: Vancouver 6-2-2, San Jose 5-1-4

Season series: This is the third of four games between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks. The Sharks won the first two by identical 4-1 scores to extend their regular-season winning streak against Vancouver to five games.

Big story: The Sharks are on a three-game winless streak, but they've earned points in each game. Only the Boston Bruins have beaten them in regulation, a 2-1 loss in Boston on Oct. 24. Two of those one-point results, however, came against Pacific Division rivals. The Canucks are on the second stop of a four-game intradivisional road trip.

Team Scope

Canucks: Vancouver's trip began Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes, who are 7-0-1 at home this season. It was an evenly matched game throughout until Antoine Vermette scored in the sixth round of the shootout and Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin missed on his first chance in three years. The 3-2 loss secured a point but ceded an extra one to the Coyotes, who are two points ahead of the Canucks in the divisional standings.

"We're going to know more, but I think we know a lot already," Daniel Sedin told the National Post. "I think we're a really good team when we play the way we can and we've shown that the last seven or eight games. It wasn't pretty [Tuesday], but we got pucks deep and battled hard and created some chances. This was a good start to our road trip. We battled hard in a tough building."

Sharks: It's going to happen during an 82-game season, even to the hottest teams. Whatever the reason, every team hits a rough spot. For the Sharks, that has meant settling for a single point in each of the past three games. San Jose fell behind 3-1 and 4-3 Tuesday night to the Buffalo Sabres, who have the fewest points in the NHL, and wound up losing 5-4 in a shootout.

Forward Logan Couture feels the winless streak is a matter of concern.

"We haven't played very well the last couple games," Couture told to the San Jose Mercury News. "We were just too slow with the puck, standing over it, not moving it. At the start of the year, you watch our games and we're 'boom boom boom' out of the zone and in their zone.

"The last couple games, it's been stand over the puck, look, wait, get stripped, play in your own zone. That's what happened [Tuesday]."

Who's hot: Henrik Sedin's career-high point streak is at 12 games (three goals, 14 assists), and he's three games away from tying the team record of 15 set by Petr Nedved and Todd Bertuzzi. His 17 assists lead the NHL. Twin brother Daniel is riding a seven-game points streak (five goals, four assists). Ryan Kesler has points in seven of his past eight games. ... San Jose's Joe Pavelski has picked up points in four straight games, and Joe Thornton keeps racking up the assists with four in his past five games. However, he still has only one goal this season.

Injury report: Canucks forward Dale Weise (leg) has no set timetable for a return. Forward David Booth (lower body) is on a conditioning stint anticipating a mid-November return. … Sharks forward Brent Burns (mouth) will miss his eighth straight game. Forward Adam Burish is recovering from back surgery. Raffi Torres (knee surgery) hopes to be back by mid-December.

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