Aw, look! It’s the battle of the fishies!
Game Day Recon #22 – Sharks @ Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks are looking to break a recent trend when travelling to San Jose. And the Sharks, off to a rough start to the year, might finally be ready for the taking.
So who wins the battle of the sea tonight? SHARK or KILLER WHALE? TUNE IN TONIGHT!
Let’s face it. The Sharks have owned the Canucks in the last 5 seasons, especially in San Jose. So the Canucks, hosting the Sharks tonight, have more than just a win on the line tonight. Vancouver is only 4-6 in their last 10 games against San Jose AT HOME. As they have had trouble beating the league’s better teams this season, the Canucks have to buck that trend and start beating the good teams, like San Jose.
Now, San Jose is back in a playoff spot and, despite a rough start, are starting to get warmed up again. But the Sedins need to lead the charge against San Jose. From Jeff Paterson via Twitter: "Twins combined for 1 goal and were collectively -10 in 4 games vs Sharks last year. Big reason #canucks were 1-3 vs SJS". Daniel and Henrik have been stymied by the Sharks, and need to get their game going for the Canucks to get some success against their Pacific division foe. But oddly enough the Sedins have been doing MUCH better on the road than at home. So far this year, Daniel has 17 points in 11 road games, but only 9 points in 10 home games. Henrik is a little better, but still the strange divide is there (Home: 10 GP 12Pts; Road 11GP 14Pts).
The Sedins would server themselves very well tonight by breaking two bad trends – scoring more at home, and scoring against the Sharks. And they can start by getting the first goal.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Get to Niemi. Antti Niemi is having a ROUGH start to this start, and frankly is one of the biggest reasons why the Sharks have struggled. The Canucks need to storm the crease and get him unfocused
2. Get the first goal. I know this is a broken record. But the Canucks are SO MUCH FRIGGIN’ BETTER when they score the first goal. When they are behind, they seem to deflate immediately. Whereas when they have the lead they tend to play a more even, complete game.
3. Hit the SNOT out of the Sharks. The San Jose Sharks do not hit as much when they are on the road. They have only 143 hits in .8 road games (17.88 hits per game). Compare that to their 250 hits in 12 home games (20.83 per game). Now this can be attributed to a stat-happy crew at HP Pavillion. But 3 less hits per game on the road is telling. Take the body early against the Sharks and set a physical tone.
BONUS – Force turnovers. The Sharks are fourth in the league in giveaways. Pressure their D and get them to turn over the puck in their defensive zone. More time away from your own net, the better.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Sharks @ Canucks (canucks.com)
2. Sedins, Canucks await Sharks (CBC Sports)
3. San Jose Sharks searching for consistency (San Jose Mercury News)
4. Vancouver vs San Jose (CBS Sports)
5. Sharks At Canucks: Over The Wall! (Nucks Misconduct)