After a huge 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks returned to the SAP Center to host these same Canucks on Thursday night.
Neither team skated on Wednesday. The Sharks have defeated the Canucks in three of four games. Vancouver has lost nine straight games (0-8-1), one shy of the Canucks record (Oct. 23-Nov. 11, 1997).
However, it just wasn’t the Sharks’ night, as Vancouver snapped their nine-game losing skid with a 4-2 win over San Jose.
The Canucks opened the scoring early the first period, thanks to Daniel Sedin’s 28th goal of the season. Sedin smacked home the rebound off Jannik Hansen’s shot to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 1:09. Sedin’s twin brother Henrik collected the other assist, his 41st of the season. Bo Horvat made an individual effort by forcing a turnover and skating in to beat Martin Jones on the backhand to make it a 2-0 game. Horvat’s unassisted goal was his 13th of the season.
The Sharks cut the lead in half at the 14:30 mark of the second period. It all started from the faceoff, but Patrick Marleau received a significant pass from Joe Thornton and immediately snapped it into the net for a power-play goal. Thornton and Brent Burns provided the assists on Marleau’s one-timer and 22nd goal of the season.
The Canucks kicked off the third period with a power play, but were unable to take advantage of it. Burns dished to Logan Couture, who scored the game-tying goal to tie the game 2-2 in the middle of the third period. Joonas Donskoi collected the second assist on Couture’s 14th goal of the season.
But the Sharks weren’t able to get past the Canucks. Two unanswered goals — an unassisted goal by Hansen and an empty-netter by Markus Granland — propelled Vancouver to a 4-2 win in the Sharks Territory. Ryan Miller made 32 saves for Vancouver, while Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 22 saves for San Jose.
It was the Sharks’ fourth loss on home ice in their last five games. As of Thursday night, San Jose trailed the first-place Los Angeles Kings by five points and four back of the second-place Anaheim Ducks. The Sharks have just four games left and start a two-game road trip against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The Kings have five games left and the Ducks have six.
The Sharks (43-29-6) concluded the five-game season series with the Canucks (28-36-13) with a 3-2-0 mark, winning all of their games at Rogers Arena.
There was no update on Sharks defenseman Roman Polak, who went to the locker room after the incident with Jake Virtanen in the second period, but returned to finish the game.
Forward Joel Ward (undisclosed), defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body), left wing Matt Nieto (hand) and defenseman Matt Tennyson (concussion) are out.
Virtanen was suspended for two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for interference against Polak on Tuesday.
Goalie Ryan Miller is expected to start.
Coach Willie Desjardins has rotated Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom since Feb. 28, and Markstrom played in the Canucks’ 4-1 loss to the Sharks.
Forward Markus Granlund (upper body) and defensemen Nikita Tryamkin (lower body), Luca Sbisa (upper body) and Chris Tanev (undisclosed) are day-to-day. Forwards Brandon Sutter (fractured jaw) and Radim Vrbata (lower body) and defenseman Alexander Edler (fractured fibula) are out.
Up Next: Sharks visit the Nashville Predators Saturday at 7:00 pm CT on CSCA, FSTN.