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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME 57: CANUCKS VS SAN JOSE

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Coming off a huge win against the Flames stands a stiffer challenge: Can this team figure out the Sharks?

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (25-24-7) vs San Jose Sharks (33-16-7)

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC

When: 7:00 pm PST

Where to Watch: SNP

SB Nation Opposition Blog: Fear The Fin

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Canucks didn’t deserve to win on Saturday night, but after losing 3 straight games where they were the better team, it felt perfectly fine for them to walk out of Rogers Arena with 2 points. That 2nd period was as bad a period as this team has played all season long, honestly. Yet the Canucks were in the position to get those two points because of Jacob Markstrom, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.

It’s becoming apparent that should the Canucks end up facing the Calgary Flames in the 1st round that series could be a coin toss. Should they end up against the San Jose Sharks though? That one’s done in 4 and it ain’t even close. There may not be another team in the NHL right now that have the Canucks figured out like the Sharks, and if Vancouver hopes to progress they better change something about that fact.

Despite the win there’s a couple questions about the lineup tonight. First, is are we going to see Zack MacEwan in tonight? The PEI native was called up Sunday after a 4 point performance Saturday night in a 5-2 Utica Comets win over the Rochester Americans. Here’s a look at MacEwan’s season so far in Utica:

The other question remains: How bad does the Canucks D have to play before Guillaume Brisebois slots in? Whether it’s Erik Gudbranson, Derrick Pouliot, or Alex Biega, one of these guys needs to have a seat and let the kid have a go, because he couldn’t be worse.

The Sharks are rolling right now, winners of 5 straight and 7 of their last 10. They’ve been doing it without Erik Karlsson, too. I guess that’s not nearly as impressive when your team also has Brent Burns on the back end, but whatever. The Sharks have a multitude of weapons to throw at you, as evidenced by a Kevin LeBanc hat trick Saturday night in their 5-2 win in Edmonton.

One guy who’s been getting it done for the Sharks is Evander Kane. He’s tied for the lead in the NHL for most goals since the start of January, notching his 13th Saturday night. The Sharks are a well-oiled machine, capable of playing pretty much any style you can throw at them, and a real measuring stick for other teams in terms of whether or not they should be taken seriously.

Here’s the potential lines for tonight (via the Province) but watch for MacEwan to be in and Markus Granlund to sit tonight (maybe)...

CANUCKS LINES

LW – C – RW

Josh Leivo — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Antoine RousselBo HorvatNikolay Goldobin

Markus Granlund — Brandon SutterJake Virtanen

Loui ErikssonJay BeagleTyler Motte

Defence pairings

Chris Tanev — Erik Gudbranson

Ben HuttonTroy Stecher

Derrick Pouliot — Alex Biega

Goalies: Jacob Markstrom, Michael DiPietro

SHARKS LINES

LW – C – RW

Timo MeierLogan CoutureJoe Pavelski

Evander KaneTomas HertlJoonas Donskoi

Marcus SorensenJoe ThorntonKevin Labanc

Barclay GoodrowDylan Gambrell — Melker Karlsson

Defence pairings

Radim SimekBrent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Tim Heed

Brenden DillonJustin Braun

Goalies: Martin Jones, Aaron Dell

SICK BAY

Canucks: Sven Baertschi (post-concussion syndrome), Thatcher Demko (knee), Alex Edler (concussion)

Sharks: Erik Karlsson (lower body)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Power play

Canucks: 16.3% (25th); Sharks: 24.6% (5th)

Penalty kill

Canucks: 79.5% (20th); Sharks: 82.1% (8th)

A lil pregame listening/reading before tonight? Sure, why not? Here’s Liam Maguire on TSN1040 about the Canucks playing with house money... Since we’ll never tire of NHL.com gushing over Elias Pettersson, here’s some more... 37 years ago today, the Canucks scored 2 penalty shot goals in the 3rd period to tie the Detroit Red Wings... Patrick Johnston on the impact of Jacob Markstrom’s emergence as a legit #1 goaltender...

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

One of the Bay Area’s best covering the Bay Area originators. How about Death Angel tearing up Metallica’s ‘Trapped Under Ice’...