The Sharks (17-10-3, 3rd Pacific) continue their whirlwind swing through Western Canada tonight to visit the Vancouver Canucks (14-14-4, 6th Pacific). The Canucks, beset by injuries and that demon known as regression, are in free fall mode and losers of four straight, outscored 20-5 in that stretch, most recently in a humiliating 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the Nashville Predators. What's more, another injury that night cost them the services of top pairing defenseman and this year's Oliver-Ekman-Larsson-memorial-really-good-defenseman-who-is-underappreciated-because-the-rest-of-his-team-is-awful award recipient Chris Tanev.
The Sharks, however, are flying. Fresh off of a 3-2 win over the Flames in Calgary last night, San Jose has a solid grasp on third place in the Pacific division, points in five straight, and a record of 6-2-1 in their last nine. Freshly returned from an injury that cost him six games, Joonas Donskoi tallied an assist and a game winning goal last night, and his newly formed line, including Swiss wizard Timo Meier and my best friend Chris Tierney, accounted for all three Sharks goals. San Jose's power play goal jumped their man advantage efficiency up to 12th in the NHL which, combined with their second-ranked penalty kill, should go a long way to assuaging our wailing and gnashing of teeth about special teams.
The Sharks have won their last 11 straight games in Vancouver dating back to January 2012, so a continuation of that trend in a divisional contest would be a huge boon for a team that looks to be finding its way. However, star rookie and automated awesome nickname generator Brock Boeser does not seem to be slowed down by the loss of both of his regular linemates, Bo "please stop comparing me to Cory Schneider" Horvat and Sven "go ahead and compare me to Rasmus Andersson, really it's fine" Baertschi. The Brock Boes monster has put up three goals and four points in his last four games.
We're all feeling really confident the Sharks can pull out a strong win tonight over a weak and weakening Vancouver team.
So they're almost definitely doomed.
Melker Karlsson -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Joonas Donskoi
Joel Ward -- Marcus Sorensen -- Jannik Hansen
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Brent Burns
Dylan DeMelo -- Tim Heed
Scratched: Daniel O'Regan, Joakim Ryan
Injured: Mikkel Boedker (lower body), Barclay Goodrow (lower body),
Jones is set to try for his 100th NHL win tonight in his hometown, much to the delight of Mr. and Mrs. Martinjones. Head coach Peter DeBoer has apparently adopted a "win and you're in" strategy tonight, much to the chagrin of the recently recalled O'Regan.
Edit: DeMelo has drawn into the lineup in place of Ryan, because we can't have nice things.
Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Thomas Vanek
Loui Eriksson -- Sam Gagner -- Brock Boeser
Nikolay Goldobin -- Alexander Burmistrov -- Jake Virtanen
Brendan Gaunce -- Nic Dowd -- Markus Granlund
Alexander Edler -- Derrick Pouliot
Michael Del Zotto -- Alex Biega
Ben Hutton -- Troy Stecher
Scratched: Michael Chaput, Ashton Sautner
Injured: Christopher Tanev (groin), Sven Baertschi (jaw), Bo Horvat (foot), Erik Gudbranson (upper body), Brandon Sutter (upper body)
Sautner was recalled from the AHL's Utica Comets today to experience the luxury of an NHL press box. While Gudbranson seems to be close to return, skating with the team this morning, Sutter is still 7-10 days away, according to head coach Travis Green.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, SNP
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App