Preview: San Jose Sharks Vs. Vancouver Canucks

Sheldon SinghContributor INovember 29, 2009

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 7: Travis Moen #24 of the San Jose Sharks positions in front of the net while being checked by Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks on March 7, 2009 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, Canada.   (Photo by Nick Didlick/Getty Images)
Nick Didlick/Getty Images

San Jose managed to bounce back from its worst loss of the season. It will need the momentum against an opponent that has plenty.

The visiting Sharks look to complete a perfect two-game Canadian road trip Sunday night when they face the surging Vancouver Canucks for the first time this season.

San Jose (17-6-4) has an NHL-best 38 points, but allowed a season high for goals in a 7-2 home loss to Central Division-leading Chicago on Wednesday. Trying to forget about the lopsided loss, the Sharks rallied for a 5-4 shootout victory at Edmonton on Thursday.

Patrick Marleau scored three goals, including the tying tally with 1:26 left in regulation, and added an assist while Joe Pavelski scored the lone goal in the shootout.

"We found some urgency to our game," said Sharks star Joe Thornton, who had three assists versus the Oilers. "It was important to bounce back after that (Chicago) game. We still feel we need to play better."

They might need to play better against Vancouver (14-11-0), which defeated Edmonton 7-3 on Saturday for its second straight win and fourth in five games. The Canucks are 10-3-0 at GM Place, and a victory in this contest would wrap up a 4-1-0 homestand.

San Jose, however, went 3-1-0 against Vancouver last season and had won seven straight against the Canucks before a 3-1 road loss in the teams' last meeting March 7.

Thornton, the league leader with 29 assists, has nine goals and 27 assists in 26 career games against Vancouver. Marleau, who has scored six of his 17 goals in his last six contests, had four goals and three assists against the Canucks last season.

San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov looks to bounce back after allowing four goals in each of the last two games. He made 29 saves against the Oilers, and is 15-4-4 with a 2.37 goals-against average in 2009-10.

Nabokov has compiled a 1.16 GAA while winning his last six starts against the Canucks.

The veteran goaltender could face a stiffer challenge this time. Vancouver has outscored its opponents 24-9 in the last five games after totaling three goals during a three-game skid.

Vancouver coasted to victory Saturday after scoring five times in the first period. Alex Edler and Mason Raymond each had a goal with two assists, Daniel Sedin had one of each and Ryan Kesler added three assists.

After missing 18 games with a broken foot, Sedin scored his first goal of the season in his seventh game overall and third since returning from the injury.

"My hands are pretty close," said Sedin, who has a goal and two assists in his last three games against San Jose. "It's mostly timing but I'm right there."

Alex Burrows has goals in consecutive games after only scoring once -- into an empty net -- in the previous 18. That slump coincided mostly with Sedin's injury.

Vancouver's Roberto Luongofinished with 31 saves Saturday to improve to 10-8-0 with a 2.48 GAA this season.

Luongo, who's 4-1-0 with a 1.81 GAA in his last five games, could be back in net for this back-to-back scenario as he's played on consecutive nights twice this season. He's 5-8-1 with a tie and a 2.99 GAA lifetime against San Jose.

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