Sharks Eklund, Canucks Garland

Canucks Game Day 35: Top NHL Team Vs. The Bottom

Canucks Game Facts

Tonight: San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks

Where: Rogers Arena

When: 7 pm pacific

TV/Radio: Sportsnet – HNIC / AM-650

Key Factors:

Starting goalkeepers: MacKenzie Blackwood vs. Thatcher Demko

It’s the team tied with the most points in the NHL hosting the team tied with the fewest. With the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins both losing on Friday night, the Canucks control their own destiny in terms of entering the Christmas break on top of the NHL.

One would expect them to pick up the win, especially since they lost to the Sharks 4-3 on November 25th in San Jose.

The Sharks have five players on injured reserve including their most important player Logan Couture. The 34-year-old captain has missed every game this season with a lower body injury.

Outside of D-man Carson Soucy, the Vancouver line-up remains healthy.

Who’s Hot? And Not …

The 3rd line was the line for the Canucks in Dallas two nights ago. Conor Garland had a goal and an assist, as did Dakota Joshua, while centre Teddy Blueger had an assist on both of them.

Brock Boeser notched his 24th goal of the season and sits two behind Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the NHL lead. Captain Quinn Hughes picked up an assist and leads the league’s blueliners with 42 points. He’s three ahead of Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche.

Winger Phil Di Giuseppe is pointless in his last 13 games while Andrei Kuzmenko was scratched again and last played on December 17th at Chicago.

“Hot” Sharks? William Eklund has three points over his last five games while winger Filip Zadina has a goal and an assist over his last two. He was pointless in eight of his previous nine games.

Special Teams

Both the Canucks and Dallas Stars went 0-for-3 on the power play in their match-up on Thursday night. The overall power play number for Vancouver continues a gradual slide, but is still very good at 24.2% for the season. Their penalty kill remains at a substandard number, but has improved to 77.1% overall.

The Sharks PP went 0-for-1 two nights ago in Arizona while its PK gave up one Coyotes goal on three chances. For the season San Jose has a somewhat respectable number at 20.9% with the man advantage. Shorthanded, the team is abysmal and kills off just 72.8% of opposing power plays.

Coming In:

Sharks: 9-21-and-3 for 21 points and a tie for last place in the NHL following Thursday’s 5-2 loss at the Arizona Coyotes.

Canucks: 22-9-and-3 for 47 points, the most in the NHL, coming off a 4-3 overtime loss on the road to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Recent Canucks:

— Canucks On Top Of The NHL With Help From An Angry Elf

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.