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Sharks, Hertl look to stay hot against Canucks

by Jon Lane /

SHARKS (3-0-0) at CANUCKS (3-1-0)


Season series: The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks play three more times in 2013-14, with the Sharks taking the first meeting 4-1 in their home opener Oct. 3. San Jose won all seven meetings last season against Vancouver, including three in the regular season and four when the Sharks swept the Canucks out of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Big story: Rookie Tomas Hertl is taking over San Jose. The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl" comes off a history-making performance in the Sharks' 9-2 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday. Hertl's four goals, including a highlight-reel move that saw him put the puck between his legs and shoot over the right shoulder of goalie Martin Biron, sparked the Sharks to the win and a 3-0-0 start.

"It's crazy," said Hertl, who was the No. 17 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft out of the Czech Republic. "This is a dream. Four goals. I never [scored four] in the Czech League. I never had three. In the NHL, it's crazy."

Team Scope:

Sharks: The Sharks took advantage of a Rangers team on an extended road trip and playing the second of back-to-back nights. San Jose, a team projected by many to contend for and even win the Stanley Cup, has scored a League-leading 17 goals.

Canucks: Right behind the Sharks in goals for are the Canucks, with 15. In a much-hyped goalie matchup, Roberto Luongo got the best of former teammate Cory Schneider in Vancouver's 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Luongo finished with 21 saves and earned career victory No. 350.

"They are all important games," Luongo said. "At the end of the day, I just wanted to play my game and give my team a chance, and obviously getting the two points is nice."

Who's hot: Hertl, 19, already has six goals. No other player in Sharks franchise history has scored more than four in his first three NHL games. He is the youngest NHL player to score four in a game since Jimmy Carson of the Los Angeles Kings on March 20, 1988, against the Calgary Flames, at 19 years and 254 days. … The Sedin twins continue to pace the Canucks. Daniel and Henrik Sedin are tied for the team lead with six points.

Injury report: The Sharks are missing forwards Adam Burish (lower-body injury), Raffi Torres (torn right ACL) and Martin Havlat (pelvic surgery). … Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows is on injured reserve with a foot injury sustained in the season opener. Defenseman Jeremie Blain (undisclosed), left wing Nicklas Jensen (upper body) and center Jordan Schroeder (foot) are also on IR.

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