Sharks try to rebound in key test vs. Canucks

( – The San Jose Sharks failed to hold off one division
rival. They’ll now try to avoid allowing things to get even tighter in the
Pacific standings on Thursday night as they visit the Vancouver Canucks.

The Sharks are 5-2-2 over their past nine games, but have lost two straight.
That includes a 3-1 setback to Calgary on Wednesday night, with the Flames
pulling even with the Sharks for second place in the division.

Both clubs have 61 points, 11 behind first-place Anaheim, and the Canucks are
only two points back of the Flames and Sharks.

San Jose got a rare goal from John Scott last night, while backup Alex Stalock
made 20 saves.

“It was a big two points we kind of let go there. We’ve just got to regroup
and get to (Thursday),” Scott said.

Antti Niemi figures to draw back into net tonight and is 9-8-2 lifetime versus
the Canucks with a 2.66 goals against average and .910 save percentage in 19

The Canucks play the fifth contest of a six-game homestand and had lost three
of four ahead of a 3-2 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Luca
Sbisa scored the winner 36 seconds into the bonus frame.

Sbisa was able to bank the puck out of his zone and Radim Vrbata caught up to
the puck in the neutral zone. Skating down the left wing, Vrbata passed the
puck over to the left where Sbisa was able to gather the disc and wrist it in
for the win.

“The puck was bouncing around a bit, but we stuck to our game. We can’t play
like we’re afraid to lose,” Sbisa said.

Alexandre Burrows and Ronalds Kenins scored goals for the Canucks. Kenins
netted his second goal in his third career game.

Eddie Lack turned aside 26 shots in his first start since Jan. 13.

Ryan Miller had made seven straight starts and will likely get the call
tonight. He has excellent career numbers versus the Sharks, going 9-1-0 with a
2.05 GAA and .937 save percentage in 11 games.

The Canucks, who have played three fewer games than the Sharks and Flames,
have won the first two of five meetings this season with the Sharks, both in
San Jose.

The Sharks, though, have won three straight and nine of their past 13 in