Sharks-Canucks Preview

The Associated Press

The Vancouver Canucks are beginning a season-long six-game homestand against a team that has been rather comfortable taking the ice at Rogers Arena this calendar year.

The San Jose Sharks look to make it five straight wins in Vancouver on Thursday night.

San Jose has won all four games in Vancouver in 2013, including two victories as part of a sweep in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Overall, the Sharks are 9-1-0 against the Canucks (11-7-2) in the 2013 calendar year. The teams have played three times this season with the Sharks (11-2-5) winning the first two before their nine-game win streak in the series was snapped with a 4-2 home loss last Thursday.

Vancouver, though, has been outscored 8-2 in dropping two straight since that victory, including Sunday's 3-1 defeat at Anaheim.

"It's been a struggle the past two games here," said coach John Tortorella, whose team hasn't lost three in a row this season. "We know what they are as players, we know what they are as people, and they are going to be the players we know they are. They are going to bounce out of it."

The Canucks have played three straight games without a point from either Henrik or Daniel Sedin for the first time since January, the second week of the lockout-shortened season.

Henrik had at least a point in 12 straight prior to the last three and had gone just one game without a point. Daniel had at least one in seven straight before the drought.

On a positive note, their penalty kill has remained stellar. They've killed 22 straight and are operating at a league-best 89.4 percent.

Their power play, however, ranks 28th in the league at 9.7 percent.

The Sharks' special teams both rank in the top 10. They've scored on three of their last eight power-play chances, and they've put themselves in just 54 short-handed situations, which is tied for fourth fewest in the league.

After going winless in five straight (0-1-4), the Sharks got back on track Tuesday with a 3-2 win at Calgary.

Brad Stuart's overtime goal ended the skid after the Sharks blew a 2-0 lead entering the third period.

"We've had a lot of close games and just haven't been able to finish it," Stuart said. "Tonight, we let them back in it and we shouldn't have but for us to get the points, it'll be a good positive for us moving forward."

At 6-1-3 on the road, they're one of four teams with just one road loss in regulation.

The Sharks outshot the Flames 35-13 and their 37.1 per game lead the league by a full three shots. Only three teams in NHL history have sustained an average of 37.0 or higher for an entire regular season. The Sharks averaged a franchise-best 34.5 in 2010-11.

Their 3.61 goals per game is also tops in the league while their 2.17 goals against ranks fifth.

Including playoffs, San Jose's Antti Niemi is 9-1-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average against the Canucks since Jan. 27.

Roberto Luongo, meanwhile, is 1-4-0 in his last six games - five starts - against the Sharks.

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