Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
As they begin a two-game swing through Canada, the Sharks hope to gain some separation from the pack in the Western Conference.
As I type this sentence, the Sharks are currently 6th in the Western Conference. That could very well change by the time they take the ice against the Canucks tonight at 7PM during their first visit of the season to Rogers Arena in Vancouver. With six teams, including San Jose, having thus far accumulated 24 standings points, the Sharks could easily be either out of the playoffs or (somewhat) comfortably in fourth place at the end of their Canadian back-to-back that continues tomorrow in Calgary.
The Sharks and Canucks met once before this season, as San Jose skated away 4-1 winners on the season's second weekend. That game was much closer than the final score indicated, however, and there's no need to rehash the struggles the Sharks have had against their northern rivals in recent years. Kevin Bieksa isn't expected to play tonight and Ryan Kesler is still out for weeks but the Canucks remain a frighteningly deep team at every position. I'd be wary of the Sharks' third and fourth lines taking shifts against Vancouver's Higgins/Raymond/Hansen unit that simply oozes speed. These teams might as well get used to each other as they'll be seeing a lot more of one another should realignment come to pass. Speaking of, the Canucks should probably pour out a 40 for the Northwest Division when that occurs. Go Sharks.
|10-6-4, 24 points
||11-6-4, 26 points|
|6th in Western Conference||3rd in Western Conference|
Projected Sharks Lineup
Projected Canucks Lineup