(SportsNetwork.com) – The San Jose Sharks aim to extend a four-game point
streak on Thursday night as they host the Vancouver Canucks in the first
matchup of the season between the Pacific Division rivals.
The Sharks avoided a third straight loss on home ice with Saturday’s 3-1 win
over the New York Islanders. Logan Couture netted the game-winning goal with
8:10 to play and Antti Niemi came up with 19 saves.
On the winning goal, Marc-Edouard Vlasic sent a pass across the blue line to
Justin Braun, who had his slap pass re-directed into the top of the net by
Couture at the right side of the net.
“I knew I was trying to tip it and get it up. I was lucky it got in,” said
Couture. “Great look by Braun.”
Tomas Hertl scored on the power play and James Sheppard tallied a late goal as
San Jose moved to 3-0-1 over its last four games.
San Jose lost defenseman Scott Hannan to an undisclosed injury late in the
first period and his status for this game is unknown.
Niemi, meanwhile, will make his fifth straight start and is 9-7-2 with a 2.64
goals against average and .913 save percentage in 18 prior starts against the
The Sharks won three of four versus the Canucks last season and have claimed
seven of the past nine meetings overall.
Vancouver did snap a three-game series road slide in its last trip to San Jose
and comes in having won five of its last six overall. The Canucks rallied to
beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Tuesday to open a four-game road trip.
The Canucks trailed 2-0 after the first period, but finally got on the board
with four seconds left in the second frame and then scored four times in the
final frame. Nick Bonino had two of those goals.
Vancouver failed to score on its first 26 shots before Henrik Sedin got his
club on the board with a rebound goal in the final seconds of the middle
“I think in the second we just took the game over,” said Vancouver forward
Shawn Matthias, who scored unassisted with 6:50 to play to cap the scoring.
“It just seemed like we were rolling the lines and cycling the puck well. All
four lines were going.”
Ryan Miller made 20 saves for Vancouver. He won his sixth straight start and
is 9-1-0 on the season with a 2.22 GAA and .917 save percentage. Miller is
7-1-0 lifetime versus the Sharks in nine meetings with a 2.17 GAA and .932
Canucks forward Alex Burrows is eligible to return tonight from a three-game
suspension earned for a high, late hit on Montreal’s Alexei Emelin in last