Following a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues, the Vancouver Canucks begin a five-game road trip on Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks.
If the Vancouver Canucks needed a statement win, they got it on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues.
Goalie Thatcher Demko stood on his head to help the Canucks clinch the season series against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Now, Vancouver embarks on its most pivotal road trip yet — a five-game trek that commences against a Pacific Division rival.
The Canucks being the trip with a showdown the San Jose Sharks — their final contest at the SAP Center this season. It also marks the fourth of five meetings between the two clubs, with Vancouver winning two of the first three.
After their visit in San Jose, the Canucks head east for three more games, beginning on Saturday against the New York Islanders. They’d love to kick the trip off in style with a victory against a long-time foe. Here’s your game preview.
Players to watch
Elias Pettersson: The 20-year-old has been the engine of Vancouver’s offence all season long, and he leads the team in both goals (21) and points (52). He has two goals and an assist in three meetings against the Sharks.
Erik Karlsson: He’s not playing up to his usual standards, but Karlsson has been arguably San Jose’s best and most consistent player this season. He leads the team with 37 points, and Karlsson has recorded three assists in as many games against the Canucks.
Bo Horvat: The captain has been on fire in the new year, with seven goals in 10 games. Horvat has also had his way with the Sharks, with one goal and a trio of assists through their first three meetings in 2019-20.
Tomas Hertl: The 26-year-old isn’t to blame for San Jose’s struggles in 2019-20. He’s been one of their few reliable scorers with 15 goals and 35 points. That said, Hertl has been held pointless in his last four outings. Will he finally regain his form tonight?
Prediction: 4-2 Canucks
This has all the makings to be a trap game for the Canucks, but it’s hard to pick against the better team — especially when they’ve been surging with victories in five of their last six. Vancouver is simply the deeper team right now, especially in the crease — where it matters most.
The Sharks will put up a fight on home ice, but Vancouver will get three goals from its top line and one more from Jake Virtanen en route to a 4-2 victory.