Scenes from morning Skate: Canucks swim with the toothless Sharks; Pettersson a game time decision?
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
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The Vancouver Canucks look to open November the way they closed out a 6-2-1 October with yet another win. And they stand a pretty good chance considering their opponent tonight is the worst team in the National Hockey League. The San Jose Sharks are 0-8-1, have scored just nine goals in their nine games so far and carry a -26 goal differential to this point of the season.
What we saw
The Canucks held an optional skate at SAP Center. According to Sportsnet TV host Dan Murphy, the session included a brief appearance from Elias Pettersson, who stated on the record after Wednesday’s practice that he would play against the Sharks despite dealing with a nagging minor injury. Of course, this situation bears monitoring in the hours leading up to puck drop, but the hockey world wants to see what Pettersson has planned for an encore after the second hat trick of his NHL career in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Nashville.
It will be closer to game time before Rick Tocchet’s full line-up for tonight’s game is revealed. The coach says he has a couple of game-time decisions. You’d have to think Pettersson is one of them. The Canucks are currently carrying just one extra forward so if Pettersson can’t play, Jack Studnicka will draw into the line-up.
Southern California native Thatcher Demko gets the nod in goal. He is 8-0 lifetime against the NHL’s lone Northern California organization. However, with Dallas and Edmonton on the schedule next, it would have been understandable had the Canucks opted to go with Casey DeSmith tonight while saving a rested Demko for the Stars and Oilers.
The Canucks will see the Sharks in three of their next 13 games and will finish the four-game regular season series against San Jose in the game before Christmas (December 23rd at Rogers Arena).
News and Notes
Canucks defenceman Filip Hronek is celebrating his 26th birthday today while forward Anthony Beauvillier will skate in his 500th NHL game tonight. Sharks forward Anthony Duclair is also scheduled to play his 500th game this evening.
JT Miller has scored in three straight games — and in three different game states: short-handed against St. Louis, on the power play versus the Rangers and 4-on-4 on Tuesday against Nashville. In fact, Miller has yet to score a 5-on-5 goal this season. He has a pair of power play markers, a short-handed goal, the 4-on-4 goal the other night and a 6-on-5 goal late in the game in Tampa Bay. Miller has a chance tonight to match his career high with goals in four straight games first accomplished in March of 2022.
The Sharks will give Kaapo Kahkonen the start in goal. He is 0-3 on the season with a 3.16 GAA and a .907 save percentage. He has seen the Sharks score exactly two goals for him this season. San Jose has dropped seven straight games in regulation and has scored just one goal in its last three games. The Sharks have been outshot in all nine of their games this season and have been outscored 14-2 in third periods.
Fabian Zetterlund and sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft (IYKYK) Filip Zadina lead the Sharks with two goals apiece while Tomas Hertl leads the team in scoring with a goal and five points.
What was said
Rick Tocchet on Canucks knowing Sharks are still winless: “I’ve been there before. In Arizona, we lost our first eight, nine or 10 games. Quinner (David Quinn) is a good coach. They work hard. They’re going to come out of it. It was the same thing in Arizona. We lost some tough games, but if you win a couple, then you get confidence. I’m always a big believer that you have to respect your opponent. They’re going to work hard. I don’t think we have the right to take anybody lightly, and that’s our approach.”
Sam Lafferty on not letting up against struggling Sharks: “It’s about our process. That’s where our focus is. They’ve got a lot of great players in their line-up and regardless of what their record is there are a lot of factors that play into that. Our focus is just on getting better and sticking to our process.”
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