Preview: Sharks at Canucks
The San Jose Sharks are locked into second place in the Pacific Division and know who their postseason first-round opponent will be, but they hardly look playoff-ready entering the final week of the regular season. San Jose will look to snap out of its funk when it visits the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
One night after wrapping up second place in the division and securing a first-round matchup against Vegas, the Sharks lost for the eighth time in nine games (1-7-1) in Sunday's 5-3 setback versus Calgary. "We have three games left to figure things out," forward Logan Couture said after San Jose was limited to a season-low 15 shots. "It seems like we're stuck in mud the last three weeks." The Sharks have had their way with the Canucks, winning all three matchups this season to make it six consecutive victories in the series. Vancouver has posted back-to-back 3-2 shootout victories to improve to 3-3-0 entering the finale of a seven-game homestand.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCS California-Plus (San Jose), Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE SHARKS (44-26-9): Timo Meier scored one goal and set up another in Sunday's setback to extend his point streak to five games and give San Jose three 30-goal scorers for the first time since 2011-12. Although Meier has scored three times during the point streak, he emphasized that the team has to build momentum. "We have to set ourselves up for the playoffs and go in with a good feeling," Meier said. "We have to find our game. It's like doing homework and getting ready for the final exams in the playoffs."
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (34-35-10): Forward Sven Baertschi, who has had two injury absences of 30 and 23 games this season due to concussion-related symptoms, scored a goal Saturday in his third contest since rejoining the lineup. "It's been a hard year for him," Canucks coach Travis Green said of Baertschi, who has nine goals and five assists in 29 games. "To see him get a goal and a big goal, you're happy for him." Defenseman Luke Schenn, acquired from Anaheim earlier this season, has registered 30 hits and 10 blocks shots in the last four games.
1. San Jose has outscored Vancouver 14-4 in the three matchups this season.
2. Canucks G Jacob Markstrom is 2-5-1 with a 3.65 goals-against average versus the Sharks.
3. Couture has one goal and five assists in his last three games and two tallies and five points versus the Canucks this season.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Canucks 3