Canucks vs. Sharks Game Day Report: Jekyll or Hyde Tonight?

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Canucks Game Day Sharks

With the Canucks counting their lucky stars that they came out with a point in Arizona, the Canucks find themselves in an absolutely massive road game against the San Jose Sharks tonight.

The Sharks (32-25-8) sit 5th in the tightly contested Pacific Division while the Canucks are holding on, every so slightly, to 2nd in the Pacific.

Matchup

Game Time: 7:00 pm

TV: CBC

The Canucks have been a Jekyll and Hyde team lately. They have posted strong victories against elite teams and have been absolutely brutal against some of the very worst teams in the NHL. It is getting to that time of the season where these types of games against the San Jose Sharks can be season defining. Look for two extremely hungry teams to take to the ice on Saturday night.

Storylines

1. Linden Vey

Vey

Image:  canucks.nhl.com

Canucks Nation appears to have turned Linden Vey into a bit of an inside joke. Consistently fans are insinuating that the only reason Vey plays is because he is Willie Desjardins favourite. Willie just likes him because he played for Medicine Hat, they say. I, for one, don’t really get the joke.

Vey currently sits 12th in the NHL in rookie scoring with 22 points in 59 games and has shown off some slick playmaking skills throughout the season. This is no joke. Vey is the kind of player that will improve the more he plays. Give Vey an offseason to improve his strength and very few fans will be laughing at his expense.

2. Team Overrated

thornton_couture640

Image: sharks.nhl.com

The San Jose Sharks are fighting for their playoff lives. This is not a surprise to those that have been watching the Sharks closely. The Sharks have been perennial contenders, but have never lived up to the hype. This is an organization that has traditionally excelled in two areas: striping players of their captaincy and choking in the playoffs. Canucks fans often worry when the Canucks play in the Shark Tank, but, make no bones about it, the Sharks are the underdog in this one.

3. Shawn Matthias

Matthias

Image: canucks.nhl.com

Shawn Matthias has impressed this season. A player that few got excited about when the Roberto Luongo trade was announced has turned into a UFA asset the Canucks must re-sign. Matthias is a centre whose game seems better suited to the wing. Apparently Willie Desjardins agrees. Matthias, who has amassed 16 goals and 8 assists this season, will be back on the wing against the Sharks tonight, playing on a line with Nick Bonino and Radim Vrbata. Free from the defensive responsibilities that come with playing centre, look for Matthias to have an impact against the Sharks.

Lineup

The Canucks have made a few tweaks to their lineup. Shawn Matthias moves back to the wing on a line with Nick Bonino and Radim Vrbata. Linden Vey and Frank Corrado draw back into the lineup, while Ronalds Kenins and Adam Clendening will be healthy scratches.

D. Sedin H. Sedin Kassian
Matthias Bonino Vrbata
Higgins Vey Burrows
Dorsett Horvat Hansen
Edler Weber
Hamhuis Sbisa
Stanton Corrado
Lack

Prediction

The Canucks are coming off a compete dud of a game in Arizona after losing in a shootout with the Coyotes and the Sharks need to go on a run to secure a playoff spot. The Canucks have been very good at bouncing back from terrible games and, based on principal, I can’t bet on the Sharks. The Canucks take this one 5-2 and Eddie Lack supporters tweet incessantly about how good he is.

https://twitter.com/taj1944/status/573703110440325120

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Ian Lusher Canucks Contributor
@ianlusher

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