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Sharks hope to reverse fortunes against Canucks

by Brian Compton
SHARKS (19-11-4) at CANUCKS (24-13-2)


Last 10: San Jose 5-2-3; Vancouver 6-3-1.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. Vancouver is looking to make it three straight against the Sharks following a 3-2 victory last Wednesday at HP Pavilion.

Big Story: San Jose has sure had its difficulties with the Canucks as of late. Not only did Vancouver end the Sharks' season last May in the Western Conference Final (which required just five games), but the Canucks have won the first two regular-season matchups against San Jose -- both at HP Pavilion.

"A lot of our games could go either way," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "For whatever reason, they're falling in their side right now and hopefully we'll change that in the second (meeting)."

Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose enters Monday's action well rested. The Sharks haven't played since last Wednesday, when they suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to these Canucks. Andrew Ebbett won it for Vancouver when he redirected Kevin Bieksa's shot past Antti Niemi at 3:23 of the extra session. San Jose outshot the Canucks 16-4 in the third period, but failed to solve Roberto Luongo.

"I thought it was a heckuva game," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought it had a lot of emotion in it, more emotion that any of the other games we've played lately between both teams, on our bench, officiating, the whole nine yards. So playoff-style, playoff atmosphere, and I don't expect anything different from the two teams."

Canucks: Last Wednesday's win at San Jose marked the opening of a three-game road trip for Vancouver. It concluded Saturday with a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles, where the Canucks went 0-for-4 on the power play en route to just their fifth loss in 20 games.

"We weren't good enough," Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin said. "We got our chance on the power play, but we weren't sharp enough and didn't create enough chances to score. They played well. But still, I thought we had chances to maybe get a few more shots to the net and we were passing up opportunities to shoot. That can't happen against a team that doesn't give up a whole lot of shots."

Who's Hot: Sharks forward Joe Pavelski has 4 goals and 2 assists in his last eight home games, while Logan Couture is averaging a point per game over his last seven matches (4 goals, 3 assists). … Luongo is 5-2-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average in seven consecutive starts, while Bieksa has a six-game point streak.

Injury Report: The Sharks will be without Martin Havlat (hamstring), Jim Vandermeer (hand) and Colin White (lower body). … Vancouver is likely to be without Chris Higgins (lower body), Aaron Rome (thumb), David Booth (knee), Aaron Volpatti (shoulder) and Byron Bitz (hip).

Stat Pack: Sharks forward Patrick Marleau played in his 200th consecutive game last Wednesday. … Niemi is just 2-5-2 with a 3.19 GAA against the Canucks. … Each of the last five games between these teams have been decided by one goal. Vancouver has won four of them.

Puck Drop: "We still believe we can win going into Vancouver. "They're a good team. Give credit where credit is due." -- Sharks forward Logan Couture

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