The series will be broadcast on TSN and will start on Wednesday, May 1.
Luckily for both teams, it will follow a standard schedule with a game every second day. Travel shouldn't be much of an issue with both teams being in the Pacific Time Zone and only a three-hour flight away.
Game 1: San Jose @ Vancouver, Wed. May 1, 7:30 PST
Game 2: San Jose @ Vancouver, Fri. May 3, 7:00 PST
Game 3: Vancouver @ San Jose, Sun. May 5, 7:00 PST
Game 4: Vancouver @ San Jose, Tues. May 7, 7:00 PST
Game 5: San Jose @ Vancouver, Thurs. May 9, 7:00 PST*
Game 6: Vancouver @ San Jose, Sat. May 11, TBA*
Game 7: San Jose @ Vancouver, Mon. May 13, TBA*
The Sharks won the season series, 3-0-0, from their perspective.
From the Canucks' point of view, the season series was 0-2-1.
Such is life in Gary Bettman's NHL, where games are worth a variable number of points.
The Sharks won in regulation, 4-1, on Jan. 27 and 3-2 on April 1 in San Jose.
On Feb. 5, the Sharks won, 3-2, in a shootout while in Vancouver.
While the Sharks clearly won the season series, it should be pointed out that all three wins came prior to the trade deadline, when the Canucks bolstered their lineup with the acquisition of Derek Roy, and the return of Ryan Kesler from injury.
The Sharks also added Raffi Torres at the deadline.
So take the season series with a grain of salt, because impact players were added to both rosters since they last met.
Also of note is the regular-season home and away records.
The Sharks are horrible on the road (8-14-2) and awesome at home (17-2-5). The Canucks are better at home (15-6-3) than on the road (11-9-4), but the difference there isn't nearly as pronounced as it is for the Sharks.
If the Canucks can take advantage of having home ice, then they should win the series. If San Jose can get a split in Vancouver, it will be tough for the Canucks going into San Jose.
Advantage: San Jose
Chris Tanev checks Joe Thornton
Manny Malhotra — Out for the season with an eye injury.
David Booth — Out of the season with an ankle injury.
Chris Tanev — Day to day with an ankle injury. I'd be awfully surprised if he played in Game 1, but I'd expect him to play by Game 3 at the latest.
Cory Schneider — Day to day with an undisclosed body injury. The Canucks are playing this one close to the vest, only saying it was a "body" injury, but it appears Schneider might play in Game 1. It all depends on how he does in practice early in the week, he might need a few more days off.
San Jose Injuries:
Martin Havlat — Day to day with an undisclosed injury. Questionable for Game 1.
Jason Demers — Day to day with an ankle injury. Questionable for Game 1.
*Injury report courtesy of TSN.ca.
The Canucks have 122 goals this season, averaging 2.54 per game, which places them 19th in the NHL for scoring. Their power play is 22nd in the NHL at 15.8 percent.
However, in the 12 games after the trade deadline, the Canucks have scored 10 goals in 40 power-play opportunities. Not surprisingly, the return of Ryan Kesler and the acquisition of Derek Roy have helped with the man advantage.
The Sharks have scored 116 goals (2.42 per game), which places them 24th in the NHL for scoring. Their power play is seventh in the NHL at 20.1 percent.
The top scorers for the Canucks are Henrik Sedin (45 points), Daniel Sedin (40 points) and Derek Roy (28 points).
The top scorers for the Sharks are Joe Thornton (40 points), Logan Couture (37 points) and Patrick Marleau (31 points).
The Canucks have a balanced attack, with six players scoring 10 goals or more, led by Alex Burrows with 13 goals. Daniel Sedin (12), Henrik Sedin (11), Jannik Hansen (10), Mason Raymond (10) and Chris Higgins (10) round out the list.
The offense for the Sharks is more top-heavy with only three players scoring 10 goals or more. Logan Couture leads the way with 21 while Marleau (17 goals) and Joe Pavelski (16 goals) round out the lion's share of the scoring for the Sharks.
With the bulk of their goals coming from only three players, it will be relatively easy for the Canucks to focus their defensive attention.
Whereas the Sharks will have to focus on the Sedin line, the second and third lines for the Canucks will have easier match ups that they should be able to exploit.
Antti Niemi has been pretty awesome for the Sharks this year, going 24-12-6 with a 2.16 goals against average and a 0.924 save percentage.
If the Sharks win the series, Niemi will be the main reason.
For the Canucks, as it always seems to be, there is a bit of goalie drama.
Cory Schneider is the anointed starter, but he is out with an injury and may not return in time for the start of the playoffs, leaving Roberto Luongo as the potential starter.
Schneider has gone 17-9-4 with a 2.11 goals against average and a 0.927 save percentage, bettering Niemi's stats.
Luongo, on the other hand, has gone 9-6-3 with a 2.56 goals against average and a 0.907 save percentage. His stats are down compared to years past, but that can easily be attributed to his lack of consistent playing time this year.
In addition, the last two games of the season were write-offs for the Canucks, who rested several key players after clinching the Northwest title, leaving Luongo to take the loss to his stats.
If Luongo is called upon in the playoffs, there shouldn't be an appreciable drop-off between him and the play of Niemi or Schneider.
The Canucks are eighth in the NHL on the penalty kill at 84 percent. The Sharks are sixth at 85 percent so there isn't much difference between the two.
San Jose gave up 112 goals in the regular season while the Canucks gave up 115.
There isn't much to pick between the two sides in terms of toughness when you look at regular season stats.
The Sharks have thrown 1,031 hits (21.47 hits per game) and have engaged in 18 fights this season.
The Canucks have thrown 1,020 hits (21.25 hits per game) and engaged in 28 fights.
However, the Canucks have a habit of turning up the physical play when it comes to the playoffs, more so than the Sharks.
Last season, the Sharks threw 1,565 hits (19.08 hits per game) in the regular season and 136 hits (27.2 hits per game) over their five playoff games.
In that same span, the Canucks threw 22.27 hits per game in the regular season and 32.24 hits per game in the playoffs.
So far this season, the top hitters for the Canucks are Maxim Lapierre (116), Dale Weise (84), Alex Edler (77) and Zack Kassian (70).
The top hitters for the Sharks are Tommy Wingels (115), Brad Stuart (87), Raffi Torres (87) and Adam Burish (65).
The Sharks have traded away a few heavy hitters since the last time these two met in the playoffs, including players such as Douglas Murray, Ryane Clowe and Jamie McGinn.
The wild card in all of this is Torres. When Torres is on his game, he absolutely crushes players with heavy hits.
When he is on his game, he does the same, but takes a lot of penalties. When he is really off his game, people get hurt and he gets suspended.
Which Torres shows up when the games get more emotional and intense could determine whether the Sharks can stand up to the Canucks, or if they will fold under relentless forechecking.
The Sharks and Canucks have only played each other once in the playoffs previously, that coming in the 2010 Western Conference Finals series that the Canucks won quite handily.
The Canucks outshot and outhit the Sharks, traded power play goals with abandon and also dominated the Sharks at even strength.
Niemi was also less than optimal in net during the series, giving up 20 goals on 153 shots. While his 0.869 save percentage was horrible, he wasn't exactly bailed out by his skaters either.
The Sedins outperformed the big guns for the Sharks. Patrick Marleau tied Daniel Sedin with seven points each. Henrik Sedin, however, schooled Joe Thornton in the battle of the playmaking centers, doubling Thornton's six points with 12 of his own.
Dany Heatley was outperformed by a stanchion at Rogers Arena, so the less said about his play, the better.
Since that series, the stars on both sides have stayed pretty much the same although their supporting casts have changed.
For San Jose, Heatley is out (not that you'd notice in the playoffs) along with Ryane Clowe, Jamie McGinn, Ben Eager and Devin Setoguchi at forward. They are replaced by Martin Havlat, Raffi Torres and Scott Gomez.
On defense, Douglas Murray and Ian White are out while Brent Burns and Scott Hannan are in. (Although Burns is playing up front as a forward lately, NHL.com still has him listed as a defenceman.)
For the Canucks, out are Raffi Torres and Tanner Glass at forward, replaced by Derek Roy, Zack Kassian and Dale Weiss.
On defence, Christian Ehrhoff, Aaron Rome and Sami Salo are out. They are replaced by Jason Garrison, Chris Tanev and Frank Corrado.
The Canucks should take advantage of home ice and a deeper roster than San Jose to win. It won't be an easy series, but it is clear which team is the underdog.
Prediction: Canucks in six.