The San Jose Sharks (39-23-9, 2nd Pacific) wrap up a quick road trip north of the border tonight with a visit to the Vancouver Canucks (25-37-9, 7th Pacific). The Canucks are in a bad way. They've been shut out of three straight games, they were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday with a 0-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, their only bright spot for the future is out with a back injury, and their general manager is doubling down on Erik Gudbranson. Still, their goal tending has been decent, I guess? For a team that traded away both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider for lackluster returns, they'll have to take whatever they can get between their pipes.
The Sharks, on the other hand, have won three straight and, with a 6-2-0 record in their last eight, are solidifying their bid for post-season home ice. With four goals last night in a 7-4 rout of the Calgary Flames, Evander Kane is becoming a front runner for the best value trade of the deadline. Including that display, Kane has five goals and ten points in his last eight games, and his line mate, captain Joe Pavelski, has recorded three goals and 11 points in that span. If and when the Sharks get Joonas Donskoi back, that top line will be very proper indeed.
The Canucks may get a boost tonight with the return of defenseman Christopher Tanev. Tanev missed 17 games with a broken leg after blocking a Tampa Bay Lightning shot on 8 February. While Vancouver is probably just trying to get Tanev some reps as the season winds down, he may inadvertently hurt their chances in the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes. The 'Nucks are a decent (for them) 17-17-4 with Tanev in the lineup this year and a less decent 8-20-5 without him. A loss tonight would be six in a row for Vancouver, and would be their longest losing streak of the season.
Aaron Dell is set to start tonight, and is still on the team, a fact no one would blame you for forgetting. Martin Jones has started San Jose's last ten games, and put up strong enough numbers (6-3-1, .916, 2.42) to quell what was a blossoming goalie controversy just a few months ago. Dell's last game was 22 February, and a strong performance tonight would do a lot for our and the front office's confidence in him as a legitimate option come playoff time.
With the Los Angeles Kings' brutal shut out loss to Keith Kinkaid and his the New Jersey Devils earlier today, a win for the Sharks tonight would open up a five point gap between San Jose and their closest competition for second place. While tonight is not a must win due to the room directly underneath the Sharks in the standings, a little breathing room never hurt anyone.
Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Jannik Hansen
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc
Barclay Goodrow -- Eric Fehr -- Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin -- Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Marcus Sorensen
Injured: Joel Ward (shoulder), Joe Thornton (knee), Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Joakim Ryan (upper body)
Martin in for Ryan today, as the latter is out with an undisclosed upper body injury. It's Martin's fourth game of the season, so here's hoping he can readjust quickly. Donskoi is still out, but head coach Pete DeBoer says it's not expected to be long term, for what that's worth.
Brendan Leipsic -- Bo Horvat -- Jake Virtanen
Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Sam Gagner
Darren Archibald -- Brandon Sutter -- Tyler Motte
Reid Boucher -- Nic Dowd -- Nikolay Goldobin
Alexander Edler -- Christopher Tanev
Michael Del Zotto -- Troy Stecher
Derrick Pouliot -- Alex Biega
Scratched: Jussi Jokinen
Injured: Ben Hutton (foot infection), Erik Gudbranson (shoulder), Brock Boeser (back), Sven Baertschi (shoulder), Loui Eriksson (fractured rib), Brendan Gaunce (foot), Markus Granlund (ankle)
Boeser has been out for five games and still leads the team in points (55) and goals (29). He is very good.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, SN, CBC
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App