The Vancouver Canucks (22-29-6, 7th Pacific) visit our Sharks (30-19-8, 2nd Pacific) at a trying time, as a series of injuries have ... you know what? Just go ahead and scroll down to the lineups and come back when you're done. That's where the really spicy bit is. It's okay, I'll wait.
As you can see, the reigning Norris trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman, Brent Burns, took line rushes on the top line as a right wing with captain Joe Pavelski and wunderkind Timo Meier. It'd've been a disservice to lead with anything else. Due in large part to injuries to hugely significant forwards Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl, and to less significant but still significant forward and very nice man Joel Ward, head coach Pete DeBoer has chosen to feed the vocal minority who still cling to the hope that Burns should be a power forward.
The Sharks are coming off of a frustrating 2-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday despite putting 41 shots on goaltenders Scott Wedgewood and Antti Raanta, which cost the Sharks a little more than two precious points in a packed division. Pacific rivals the Flames (two points back), Kings, and Ducks (three points back each) all lost in regulation that same night, so the Sharks' loss to the last place team in the NHL was a huge missed opportunity. Further, the game included the aforementioned injury to Hertl, who DeBoer classifies as day-to-day. Per the man himself, ever the reliable narrator: "I don't think at this point it's as serious as it possibly could have been." Thanks for clearing that one up, bud.
Tonight the boys face another non-contender in the Pacific on the second half of a back to back on the road, as the Canucks have lost five of their last six games, most recently a 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers last night. The 'Nucks are 3-3-0 in the second half of back to backs this season, so that wrinkle may not help as much as we might have hoped. They're also mere points from the league's basement, but apparently all is going according to plan, since yesterday they announced an extension for general manager Jim Benning, who's served in that capacity since 2014. Good luck with that one.
2014 was the last time Burns started a game as a forward (segues!) so whether he'll be effective in that role remains to be seen, but it's pretty much guaranteed to be a good time.
Hold onto your butts.
Timo Meier -- Joe Pavelski -- Brent Burns
Joonas Donskoi -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Mikkel Boedker -- Chris Tierney -- Jannik Hansen
Marcus Sorensen -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Joakim Ryan -- Tim Heed
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee), Joel Ward (shoulder), Tomas Hertl (upper body)
Both Heed and Sorensen were recalled today to fill the growing holes in the line up. DeBoer classified Hertl as day to day and Ward as week to week.
Nikolay Goldobin -- Bo Horvat -- Brock Boeser
Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Thomas Vanek
Darren Archibald -- Brandon Sutter -- Loui Eriksson
Reid Boucher -- Nic Dowd -- Jake Virtanen
Alexander Edler -- Erik Gudbranson
Michael Del Zotto -- Troy Stecher
Ben Hutton -- Derrick Pouliot
Scratched: Alex Biega, Philip Holm, Sven Baertschi
Injured: Brendan Gaunce (foot), Markus Granlund (ankle), Christopher Tanev (lower body), Sam Gagner (upper body)
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, SNP
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App