Sharks seek successful end to homestand vs. Canucks
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The San Jose Sharks look to close out an already successful homestand on a positive note against a team they dominated in all facets of the game last season.
In search of their fifth win in six games, the Sharks welcome the Vancouver Canucks to SAP Center on Saturday night.
The Pacific Division rivals played their entire season series during the final two months of the 2016-17 campaign, and San Jose was unstoppable. The Sharks swept all five games, scoring 17 goals while limiting the Canucks to one goal per outing.
On special teams, Peter DeBoer's squad killed off 10 of 11 short-handed situations while totaling three goals in eight power-play chances.
The Sharks had five players with more than one goal and 11 players collect multiple points. Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney and Patrick Marleau -- now with the Toronto Maple Leafs -- had three goals apiece. Brent Burns, Hertl and Tierney each collected five points.
Captain Joe Pavelski registered only three assists in the five games. In 44 career games versus the Canucks, the 33-year-old has 11 goals and 18 assists. Pavelski is still one goal short of joining Marleau as the only players with 300 goals in a San Jose uniform.
The Sharks, wrapping up a five-game stretch in northern California, are coming off their first loss on the homestand, a 5-1 setback to the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.
Joonas Donskoi continued to show that he is a capable scoring option with Marleau no longer around. The Finnish forward posted his second goal of the homestand and third in five games. Donskoi also needs one goal to match the six he scored in 61 games last season as he battled a sophomore slump.
"I was too hard on myself," the 25-year-old told the San Jose Mercury News. "I was trying to force my game. I was thinking too much. The game is so fast here, you just have to play with your instincts -- just play the game."
Donskoi has four assists -- three at home -- in seven career games versus the Canucks.
Martin Jones yielded four goals on 21 shots through two periods against the Lightning before being replaced by Aaron Dell, who turned away eight of nine shots in the final period.
The Canucks may be the perfect team for Jones to bounce back against. A native of North Vancouver, Jones is 6-1-0 with a 1.43 goals-against average and .953 save percentage against his hometown-area team.
Dell won his only start versus the Canucks in 2016-17.
Vancouver (8-6-2) has dropped four of its last six after a 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. Sven Baertschi gave the Canucks a first-period lead, but Jacob Markstrom couldn't make it stand up and finished with 31 saves.
The Canucks' penalty-killing unit has been horrific in the last two games, surrendering five power-play goals in 10 chances.
"It's all on us," center Bo Horvat told the Vancouver Province. "On the PK, it's closing gaps and not letting them break into the zone. It's too easy for them now. And on offense, it's getting pucks and bodies to the net and keeping it simple.
"We're trying to make the pretty plays with a pass in front when we should be getting bodies to the net. We've got to figure something out and come together as a team."
Horvat is second on the club in goals (six) and points (13). Half of his goals have come with the man advantage.
Twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin have nearly identical point totals against San Jose in their respective long career.
In 66 games, Henrik Sedin has 13 goals and 29 assists. Daniel Sedin has played one less game and has two fewer assists. They each have four power-play goals, 11 power-play assists and a minus-4 rating.
Markstrom's only win three decisions came in San Jose, where he stopped 32 shots in a 4-2 victory on March 5, 2016. Anders Nilsson -- 3-1-0 with a 1.89 GAA and .943 save percentage -- has won both career starts against the Sharks despite yielding seven goals on 68 shots.
Updated November 10, 2017