NHL Hockey: San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks – Sharks Favored
The Sharks look to win five straight road games for the first time this season and move into first place in the Pacific Division when they face the Canucks on Sunday.
San Jose (33-16-0) is concluding a two-game stretch on the road, where it is 16-7-0. The Sharks have the second-most road wins in the NHL and have matched their longest winning streak away from HP Pavilion this season.
A victory Sunday would give San Jose a five-game win road streak for the first time since April 3-12, its longest run since winning six in a row from Nov. 30-Dec. 19, 2001.
The Sharks have won five of their last six overall and have only two losses in their last 10 games. San Jose is two points behind first-place Anaheim in the Pacific Division. The Ducks host Dallas on Sunday.
Patrick Marleau had two goals and an assist for the Sharks in a 5-1 win at Edmonton on Friday night. Mike Grier added a goal and an assist for San Jose.
"We’ve been playing well for the past three weeks," Grier said. "And it is good to keep it going after the (All-Star) break. Hopefully we can keep that going over the next little while."
Joe Thornton also had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, giving him three goals and nine points in his last five contests. He has six assists in his last five games against Vancouver (27-19-3).
San Jose is in the midst of an NHL-record string of 48 straight games without going to overtime. The Sharks, whose only overtime game this season was a 5-4 win over St. Louis in their season opener, broke the mark of 41 set by Toronto in 1996-97.
Vancouver, meanwhile, is coming off its third loss after regulation of the season.
The Canucks fell 3-2 in overtime to Los Angeles on Friday night, their second straight defeat at home since winning eight in a row there.
"I don’t know if it was the break or what it was, but we’ve got to get back to playing the right way soon," Canucks forward Markus Naslund told the team’s Web site.
Naslund has three goals and five points in his last four games against San Jose.
Sami Salo and Trevor Linden scored, and Roberto Luongo finished with 40 saves Friday to help the Canucks stay tied with Calgary atop the Northwest Division. The Flames visit Chicago on Sunday.
Vancouver’s Marc Chouinard was in the lineup for just the third time in eight games after the Canucks learned earlier in the day that center Ryan Kesler would miss the rest of the regular season following hip surgery Monday.
The 22-year-old Kesler has six goals and 10 assists in 48 games this season, mostly while centering the Canucks’ third line. He was experiencing soreness in his hip before the All-Star break but was expected to play through it.
San Jose won its first meeting with Vancouver 6-4 on Oct. 13. The Sharks have taken three straight against the Canucks since a 3-2 loss on Nov. 24, 2005.
by: Gary Roberts – theSpread.com – Email Us
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