Vancouver Canucks preview: Swimming in the Sharks tank

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 4: Martin Jones
SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 4: Martin Jones /

Following a disappointing 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, the Vancouver Canucks will look to escape with a win against the ever-dangerous San Jose Sharks.

The Vancouver Canucks have been surprisingly strong on the road, with a 5-2-0 record away from Rogers Arena. But they’ll have their work cut out for them against a San Jose Sharks squad that’s traditionally excellent in defending their home ice.

Vancouver is in the midst of the dreadful California road trip, coming off a 4-1 loss to the banged-up Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. It was arguably their worst game of the season, and Vancouver will be looking for a bounce-back victory against its Pacific Division rivals.

Being without Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher will be challenging, and the Canucks will have to pick up the play in their own end if they are too emerge victorious.

Here is our complete preview for the Canucks first game against the Sharks of 2017-18.

0. 120. 0. 104. Final

Vancouver Canucks


2017-2018 Record: 8-6-2

2017-2018 Record against Sharks: 0-5-0

Goals For: 43

Goals Against: 31

Injuries: Troy Stecher (knee, 4-6 weeks), Chris Tanev (upper body, two-three weeks), Loui Eriksson (knee, out til mid-November)

Who’s on offence

Brock Boeser: The rookie has been on a roll, leading the team in scoring with 14 points in 13 games.

More from The Canuck Way

He’s just a week removed from a hat trick against the defending champion, Pittsburgh Penguins. Though many classify him as a pure-sniper, he’s shown the ability to be an excellent setup man as well.

Bo Horvat: After a slow start, the team’s reigning scoring leader has come along as the leader of the “Killer B’s Line.” Horvat has six points in his last four games, and will be needed against a stingy Sharks team.

Who’s on defence

A very good question. With two of their top-four blueliners out, the Canucks defence is basically made of tape right now. Alexander Edler has the best chance to be an impact in this one, given his strong puck-moving skills and hard-nosed effort.

Who’s in net

Anders Nilsson has been absent on paternity leave, and it’s not the ideal time to start Thatcher Demko. Expect Jacob Markstrom — though probably fatigued and in need of a rest — to get the nod once again.

Projected lineup

Sven Baertschi—Bo Horvat—Brock Boeser

Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin—Jake Virtanen

Thomas Vanek—Alexander Burmistrov—Sam Gagner

Brendan Gaunce—Brandon Sutter—Derek Dorsett

Ben Hutton—Alexander Edler

Derrick Pouliot—Erik Gudbranson

Michael Del Zotto—Alex Biega

*lineups courtesy of the Daily Faceoff

San Jose Sharks


2017-2018 Record: 8-6-0

2017-2018 Record against Canucks: 5-0-0

Goals For: 37

Goals Against: 35

Injuries: Paul Martin (ankle, day-to-day)

Who’s on offence

Logan Couture: With a number of key players departing in the offseason, Couture has filled in nicely as this team’s top forward. He leads the Sharks with 12 points, and always seems to be a thorn in the side of the Canucks. They’ll have their hands full against him.

Joe Thornton: The ageless future Hall of Famer continues to play like a top-line centre. ‘Jumbo Joe’ has had plenty of success against the Canucks in his career, and has the chance to exploit this team’s weakend blue line.

Who’s on defence

Brent Burns: The reigning Norris Trophy winner is struggling with just seven points on the season, and he hasn’t scored a goal just yet. Burns has the chance to take over this game with his quick speed and excellent puck-moving skills. Good luck, Canucks.

Who’s in net

Martin Jones: Jones is playing like a Vezina-caliber goalie. He’s 7-4-0 with a 2.24 goals against average and .922 save percentage. Given the Canucks struggles on offence, Jones could easily find a way to steal this game.

Projected lineup

Joonas Donskoi— Joe Thornton — Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl — Logan Couture — Melker Karlsson
Jannik Hansen  — Chris Tierney— Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier —  Ryan Carpenter—  Joel Ward

Joakim Ryan — Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Justin Braun
Brenden Dillan — Tim Heed

*lineups courtesy of the Daily Faceoff

Keys to victory

Vancouver Canucks

  • Take advantage on the power play. 0-for-5 against the Ducks on Thursday night was unacceptable. Can’t happen again. Make the Sharks pay for their mistakes.
  • Be responsible in your own end. Markstrom has to be exhausted, and making him busy once again will not help. Simple.
  • Secondary scoring: The Sharks have a Norris Trophy winner to defend against the Killer B’s. Would be helpful if the second and third lines could contribute more.

San Jose Sharks

  • Use your speed. The Sharks are among the fastest teams in the NHL, with the likes of Burns and Couture. The Canucks are among the slowest teams in the NHL. They have to use the speed to their advantage
  • Put the puck on net. The Canucks are giving up way too many shots per game, so it’s smart to wear out Markstrom early and often.
  • Puck possession. The Canucks are slow and banged-up. With guys like Thornton and Burns, the Sharks should try holding onto the puck then look for the golden opportunity. Good way to tire out the Canucks.


Alex Hoegler

4. 120. 2. 104. Final

The Sharks are well-rested and have home advantage, which will be the difference makers here. They’ll catch a napping Vancouver team and pull away with a big win that puts them back in the playoff race.

Andrew Nazareth

104. Final. 2. 120. 4

The Canucks will rebound from a poor outing against the Ducks. The Vanek line will score, and Gudbranson will continue to be Gudbranson. Nilsson gets the start.

Harman Dayal

104. Final. 3. 120. 1

Scott Rosenhek

120. 2. 104. Final. 3

The Canucks had trouble beating an Anaheim team without their top two centres, starting goaltender, one of their best defencemen and several role players.

Next: Canucks roundtable: Travis Green, Benning extension, more

They have been beaten handily in shot attempts for three consecutive games. It will be a better showing than Thursday, but the Canucks won’t be good enough to win. Brock Boeser gets another goal on Hockey Night in Canada to prove Kypreos wrong. Tommy Gun gets a goal as well.