Sharks-Canucks coverage gets underway at 6:30 p.m. on CSN California with Sharks Pregame Live.
Where they stand
Sharks: 32-25-8, 72 points, 5th Pacific Division
Canucks: 36-24-4, 76 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Sharks: Matt Nieto’s two-goal, one assist night led San Jose to a 6-2 win in Vancouver on Tuesday. Chris Tierney and Melker Karlsson each scored goals for the first time since Feb. 5, and Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also found the back of the net in the Sharks’ second straight win. Antti Niemi made 26 saves. The Sharks, four points out of a playoff spot, are opening a four-game homestand that continues with Pittsburgh on Monday.
[KURZ: Sharks not number crunching despite difficult task ahead]
Canucks: Vancouver had a stop in Arizona on Thursday to open its quick two-game road trip, losing 3-2 in a shootout to the lowly Coyotes. Chris Higgins and Radim Vrbata scored goals, but the Canucks went 0-for-4 on the power play in falling to 1-2-1 in their last four. Vancouver opens a five-game homestand on Monday vs. Anaheim.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Matt Nieto. The promising 22-year-old broke out of a 17-game goal drought in Vancouver and his three-point night, including an empty net goal, was an encouraging sign. Nieto has just six goals on the season (two of which are empty net goals), but he should continue to get top-six minutes. The Sharks will need their younger players, like Nieto, to keep putting up points if they are to make a playoff push after selling off some assets before the trade deadline.
Canucks: Henrik Sedin. The Canucks star had both of his team’s goals on Tuesday against the Sharks, and his brother, Daniel, set both of them up with the primary assist. His eight-game point streak ended on Thursday in Arizona, but Sedin still has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in his last nine games. He’s averaging more than a point-per-game since the All-Star break, and leads the Canucks with 59 points in 64 games.
Goals per game: 2.82 (12th)
Goals-against per game: 2.74 (21st)
Power play: 21.5 percent (5th)
Penalty kill: 79.6 percent (25th)
Goals per game: 2.81 (13th)
Goals-against per game: 2.72 (20th)
Power play: 17.8 percent (19th)
Penalty kill: 85.9 percent (3rd)
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Matt Nieto
Tomas Hertl – Ben Smith – Tommy Wingels
John Scott – Chris Tierney – Barclay Goodrow
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller – Brenden Dillon
Scott Hannan – Brent Burns
Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Zack Kassian
Chris Higgins – Shawn Matthias – Alex Burrows
Derek Dorsett – Nick Bonino – Radim Vrbata
Ronalds Kenins – Bo Horvat – Jannik Hansen
Alex Edler – Yannick Weber
Dan Hamhuis – Luca Sbisa
Ryan Stanton – Adam Clendening
Eddie Lack (confirmed starter)
Sharks: Matt Irwin (upper body), Raffi Torres (right knee) and Mike Brown (broken right fibula) are out.
[RELATED: Irwin hurt during Sharks practice on Friday]
Canucks: Brad Richardson (lower body), Kevin Bieksa (broken hand), Chris Tanev (upper body), and Ryan Miller (sprained knee) are on injured reserve.
The Sharks and Canucks have split four meetings, with the road team winning each time. Five players have four points in the season series: Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Radim Vrbata, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.
The Sharks are 46-45-14 all-time vs. Vancouver.
Odds and ends
*The Sharks ended an eight-game home losing streak on Monday vs. Montreal, 4-0. They are 15-14-5 at SAP Center.
*Vancouver is 19-12-3 on the road, tied for the second best mark in the NHL.
*In the Sharks’ last two wins, nine different players have scored goals.
*Patrick Marleau (3g, 2a), Joe Pavelski (1g, 4a) and Matt Irwin (2g, 2a) are on four-game point streaks.
*Joe Thornton assisted on both Sharks empty net goals on Tuesday, moving past Phil Housley for 19th all-time in the NHL (895).
*Radim Vrbata (1g, 3a) and Chris Higgins (1g, 2a) are on three-game point streaks.
“We know we’re the group we’ve got right now and we’ve got to keep playing, trying to get to the playoffs and get a spot. Everybody’s all in, and it’s a good time to be playing hockey and playing well.” – Patrick Marleau