They are separated by 826 miles. They are San Jose’s closest rival to the north. Yet, for the first time in 358 days, the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks will get together and play a regular season hockey game together.
To put it in perspective, when the Sharks played the Canucks the last time on March 7, 2015, the Canucks were on their way to clinch a playoff spot, the Sharks were on their way to missing the playoffs.
51 weeks ago, gas in the Bay Area was close to $3.50/gallon, Stephen Harper was the Prime Minister of Canada, Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, and James Reimer were key pieces to the success of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the only time Donald Trump was on television, he was firing people on his reality show.
Amazing when time passes by.
Today, the Sharks are in a rut. Without the services of Tommy Wingels since February 18th, San Jose has won once in its last four games (1-2-1). Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer has mixed up the combos, and while the top and fourth lines haven’t changed (and seem to have the best chemistry going, it’s the second and third lines that are thrown off. The bottom defensive pairing of Brendan Dillon and Roman Polak are still working things out.
Time is getting short. Team Teal begins a back to back in Vancouver tonight, followed by Montreal at home Monday. They also have a home and home with Vancouver at the end of the week. You can say, these Sharks need to win them all.
San Jose enters the night sitting eight points back of Los Angeles for first in the Pacific Division. They also sit four points behind Anaheim for a home ice spot. Vancouver enters Sunday’s match sitting ten points out of a playoff spot.
British Columbia resident and Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis is being rumored to be in a trade among other veteran talent as Vancouver preps to begin a rebuild. A win on Sunday could put everything to a halt if they believe they can leap over the Sharks.
It’s a patchwork lineup, and who knows if Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has anything else up his sleeves, but here’s what we expect the lineup to look like at 4pm Sunday. Team Teal did call up Barracuda netminder Aaron Dell to be Jones’ backup while James Reimer makes his way to San Jose.
Hertl – Thornton – Pavelski
Marleau – Couture – Donskoi
Nieto – Spaling – Ward
Zubrus – Tierney – Karlsson
Vlasic – Braun
Martin – Burns
Dillon – Polak
For the Canucks, after making the playoffs last year, they have struggled. While they have won back to back games, they haven’t won three in a row all season. To make matters worse only two teams have not gone into Rogers Arena for a game and not get a point. That’s right. Opponents have picked up points in all but two games in super, natural British Columbia.
They do have the Sedins, but look out for the influx of youngsters like Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann, Bo Horvat. Expecting Ryan Miller to be the goalie for Vancouver in this Hometown Hockey matchup.
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