Thursday, November 24, 2005

Gameday: Sharks at Canucks

The San Jose Sharks haven't won a game in almost three weeks and they come into Vancouver to face a team who is 9-1-0 on home ice. To make matters worse for San Jose they are playing their second game in two nights... doesn't look good on paper, but you've still gotta play 'em.

Team Notes

San Jose Sharks (8-8-4)

Special Teams: PP 13.6% (25th) PK 81.3% (20th) PPopp/TS (139/102 +37)

  • San Jose's season has been a tremendous disappointment thus far and it does not look like it's going to get better any time soon.
  • They have lossed seven straight and have not scored more than 3 goals in their last 10 games.
  • The one bright spot for San Jose, Nolan Shaeffer, is expected to get the start in goal.
  • The Sharks power play has been dreadful this season and is obviously a huge contributing factor to their disappointing 8-8-4 record.
  • San Jose is playing back to back road games... they will really have to work hard tonight in order to avoid taking lazy penalties. As of 11:30 am the Sharks have not yet arrived at GM Place(due to fog at airport)... it could be a tough night.

Vancouver Canucks (14-6-2)

Special Teams: PP 17.5% (19th) PK 81% (22nd) PPopp/TS (154/132 +22)

  • Dan Cloutier is out with a sprained knee so Alex Auld will start. Rob McVicar has been recalled to back up Auld. According to Crawford, Cloutier felt the injury in his last game against Anaheim (where he was getting run repeatedly). He did practice yesterday, but he is now being instructed to rest and he will not be accompanying the team on the road trip. Crawford did say that if he was a forward he would likely play, so take that for what it's worth.
  • Sven Butenschon has also been recalled from Manitoba. The Canucks have essentially been playing with 5 defenseman, Butenschon will help relieve some of the workload. That means Nathan Smith will not get a chance to build on his solid game.
  • While Vancouver's power play is still ranked in the bottom third of the league, they have steadily improved over the course of the season... in fact they've added a full percentage point since the last week.
  • Led by Ryan Kesler, the Canucks got a great game out of their third line against Chicago, a good game from their 3rd in 4th lines will put a lot of pressure on a tired San Jose team.
  • The achilles heal of Vancouver has been their slow starts and inconsistent effort. There will be no excuse for losing this game. A good effort will make things extremely difficult on the Sharks.

Game Notes

  • Vancouver defeated San Jose 3-1 last Wednesday in San Jose.
  • Obviously Vancouver is the heavy favorite in this one. The Canucks are on a bit of a roll, while San Jose is mired in a slump. But we all know slumps eventually end and if the Canucks take the Sharks lightly San Jose could easily manage an upset.
  • So how will the officials call this one? Will we get another crapfest like Anaheim or a "whistles in the pocket" game like Chicago? I'm guessing somewhere in the middle.
  • Discipline and special teams will likely decide this one. The Canucks did a great job of staying out of the box against Chicago, while San Jose will likely be tired and could get into penalty trouble. Discipline has been one of San Jose's strong points this season and they will need to draw on that in order to avoid Vancouver's dangerous power play.

TV: SNET 7:00

1 comment:

bobby said...

i hate to say this, Im a HUGE Canucks fan, but man... I have had no faith in them right from the get go this season, and honestly based on how they've played all year, its surprising there not at the bottom looking up in the Northwest Division. Part of me kind of wishes they sat in the middle or the bottom of the division to perhaps ignite a fire and will to win...