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Sharks vs. Canucks: The team you love to hate

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The Sharks put their four game win streak on the line as the Vancouver Canucks come to HP tonight at 7:30 pm.

I never even thought about using a different picture.
I never even thought about using a different picture.
Thearon W. Henderson

Next year, when the NHL realigns, the Pacific Division opponents for the Sharks will look a bit different. The Stars are gone, while the Flames, Oilers, and Canucks enter. That last bit is the best news.

Other than maybe the Ducks, there is no team I'd rather see the Sharks beat more than the Canucks. Sure, the Red Wings and Kings are rivals, but I've always had some respect for those two clubs. But Vancouver? No way. After the playoff series, Kesler's dives, and the simple fact that they employ Maxim Lapierre, I have come to enjoy any bit of misery that finds it way to the Canucks (Except for the injuries to Malhotra; I miss you, Manny.). I know I enjoyed watching the Bruins defeat the Canucks in the finals a few years ago. And I always enjoy when the Sharks beat them.

Mostly though, I just love that Canucks games turn Joe Thornton into a hilarious bully. I'm so happy we get to see that six times a year going forward.

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19-10-6, 44 points
17-11-6, 40 points
4th in Western Conference 6th in Western Conference


7:30 PM PST | HP Pavilion | San Jose, California
TV: CSN-CA+ | Radio: 98.5 KFOX, SJSharks.com

Projected Sharks Lineup
Martin Havlat - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns
Logan Couture - Patrick Marleau - Tommy Wingels
Sean Couturier - Joe Pavelski - T.J. Galiardi
James Sheppard - Scott Gomez - Andrew Desjardins

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Brad Stuart - Matt Tennyson

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Canucks Lineup
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Mason Raymond - Jordan Schroeder - Jannik Hansen
Chris Higgins - Andrew Ebbett - Steve Pinizzotto
Tom Sestito - Maxim Lapierre - Andrew Gordon

Dan Hamhuis - Jason Garrison
Kevin Bieksa - Alexander Edler
Chris Tanev - Andrew Alberts

Cory Schneider
Roberto Luongo

As mentioned before, if Tennyson does make it in the game, he will be the first product of the Jr. Sharks organization to lace up the skates for the San Jose Sharks. If the coaching staff does not think he's quite ready yet, expect lines similar to what we saw against the Desert Dogs. But according to Kevin Kurz, it looks like he will play tonight.

Over for the Canucks, their lineup sure looks a lot more mortal with injuries to Ryan Kesler, David Booth, Manny Malhotra, Keith Ballard and Dale Weise (Okay, mostly just the first four). It's amazing they've been doing as well as they have lately with those injuries and a powerplay that is ranked dead last in the NHL. And you thought the Sharks had problems?

Prediction: Sharks win 3-1. Goals by Pavelski, Wingels and Sheppard. Meanwhile, San Francisco plays Los Angeles in the only sport where that's currently possible. Oh, and stop smelling your computer screens, folks.