The Sharks (8-6-0, 6th Pacific) host the surprisingly-not-that-terrible Vancouver Canucks (8-6-2, 3rd Pacific) to close out a five game home stand at the SAP Center tonight. San Jose is 3-1-0 on said home stand, but the loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday evening may still sting. Where optimists would say that the Sharks are going for a sixth win in seven games, the rest of us are looking for a bounce back from a lackluster effort against an Eastern Conference contender in the Bolts.
While San Jose has a stellar recent history against Vancouver, going 5-0-0 against them in the 2016-17 season, tonight's contest has all the trappings of a trap game, and the Sharks would do well to take the Canucks seriously instead of looking ahead to the LA Kings tomorrow night. Both teams are coming into tonight after ugly losses, as the Canucks dropped their last game, a 4-1 decision in Anaheim, on Thursday.
While the Canucks have more points than the Sharks so far, they have also played two more games, and are sliding recently, 2-3-1 in their last six, so they may be turning back into pumpkins after a four game winning streak. Vancouver also boasts the league's third highest PDO at 103.1 (the combination of a team's shooting percentage and save percentage; numbers far off from the average of 100 indicate a luck factor, good or bad), compared to San Jose's 97.04, third last.
The Canucks' top line of Sven Baertschi, Bo Horvat, and Brock Boeser (what, no Sedin?) is not to be trifled with, as Horvat has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last four games, and Boeser has 14 (five goals, nine assists) in his last 13 games. However, the fact that Vancouver is led in goals by Derek Dorsett with seven may say more about the team than any of the above metrics can.
Always keeping an eye on Joe Thornton's climb up the ranks of NHL loyalty, he now sits at 1013 assists, just one shy of tying Joe Sakic for 12th all time. For the Sharks to get back on top after Wednesday's debacle, they're going to have to start converting on some of their power play opportunities. San Jose currently sits 18th in the NHL, converting at an efficiency of 17.5%, but that actually makes them look better than they've been of late, only finishing on two of their last 20 man advantages over the last five games.
They say the best way to ensure that you've learned something is to teach it to someone else. By that metric, let's hope that Sharks can pay forward the lesson they got Wednesday night about what it takes to contend for a Stanley Cup in November.
Joonas Donskoi -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson -- Logan Couture -- Tomas Hertl
Jannik Hansen -- Chris Tierney -- Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier -- Barclay Goodrow -- Joel Ward
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon -- Tim Heed
Scratched: Ryan Carpenter, Dylan DeMelo
Injured: Paul Martin (ankle)
Defenseman and former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin will miss his 13th straight game, and Jannik Hansen is set to start the game on the third line, much to the chagrin of Timo Meier (and, by proxy, everyone here at FTF). Aaron Dell is making his first start since making 31 saves in a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Brock Boeser
Markus Granlund (no not that Granlund) -- Brandon Sutter -- Derek Dorsett
Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Loui Eriksson
Thomas Vanek -- Alexander Burmistrov -- Sam Gagner
Alexander Edler -- Derrick Pouliot
Michael Del Zotto -- Alex Biega
Ben Hutton -- Erik Gudbranson
Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch, Jake Virtanen, Brendan Gaunce
Injured: Troy Stecher (knee), Christopher Tanev (thumb)
Jacob Markstrom is making his seventh straight start tonight, and Alex Burmistrov is back in the lineup after a healthy scratch Thursday night in Anaheim. Loui Eriksson is back in for the first time since 13 October because of a knee injury.
Where to watch
Broadcast: CBC, NBCSCA
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App