The Vancouver Canucks California swing starts Thursday night vs the dreaded San Jose Sharks. The Canucks have not won in San Jose for what feels like decades and will have to be at the top of their game against the dominant Sharks.
The Canucks managed to salvage a point out of Phoenix with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. After a sleepy first period, the Canucks carried the play for the final 40 minutes and in OT, but eventually lost in a shootout. The Canucks were a bit unlucky in the shootout given that both Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins rang the puck of posts behind Coyotes’ goaltender, Mike Smith.
The San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are coming off a 5-4 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night. Yeah! The Sabres actually won a game! The Sharks are on a minor slump having lost 3 straight games and have actually had a strip torn off them by their coach, Todd McClellan, for being too complacent. San Jose will have no troubles getting up for a Canucks team that they have no love for!
Assuming John Tortorella keeps the same lines, here’s how they’ll look:
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Kesler
Higgins – Santorelli – Burrows
Archibald – Richardson – Kassian
Sestito – Welsh – Dalpe
Garrison – Edler
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Bieksa
The pretend Larscheid report…
1. Score Early
The Canucks seriously need to get the first goal in this game. This isn’t rocket science, I know! Early in the 2013-14 season the Canucks have shown an uncanny ability to win games after trailing, but this simply is a recipe for disaster in the long run.
2. Stop the Flopper
When he isn’t embellishing everything under the sun, Logan Couture is no doubt a solid player. Couture has been dynamite against the Canucks the last few years and the Canucks need to find a way to shut him down if they are to win this game. Couture really can embellish with the best of them and Bieksa called him out on this last year during the playoffs.
3. Big Game for Lu!
The Canucks need Roberto Luongo to come up big for them vs the Sharks. The Sharks are not firing on all cylinders at the moment and a sharp Luongo might be enough to get the Canucks a rare victory in San Jose.
Disclaimer: I have a major hate-on for the Sharks and refuse to let logic dictate any prediction involving them. This will be a spirited and tough affair! I believe Lu will play his best game of the season and the Canucks take this one 4-1.
Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher