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Canucks hope to fix home woes with Sharks up next

Sportsnaut
Feb 17, 2022; San Jose, California, USA;  San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) controls the puck against Vancouver Canucks center Matthew Highmore (15) during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Following crucial back-to-back road wins, the Vancouver Canucks must turn things around at home.

Facing the struggling San Jose Sharks on Saturday night could help that cause.

The Canucks aim to end their five-game home winless skid while the Sharks hope to end their five-game losing streak.

Six points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, Vancouver (34-28-10, 78 points) has a difficult task reaching playoff position. The Canucks are in this position, notably, because they’re 1-4-3 at home since March 11, and have been outscored 16-9 amid their current 0-3-2 rut.

Vancouver last went winless in six straight at home during the 2018-19 season. However, the Canucks are buoyed by matching 5-1 road victories at Vegas and Arizona.

“Obviously, we’re going through a big push with our team. … We’ve got to find ways to get points at this time of year,” said Vancouver’s Alex Chiasson, who had two goals with an assist against the Coyotes on Thursday.

“For us, we know what’s at stake in the standings.”

Chiasson has three goals and two assists in the last four games. Meanwhile, teammate Bo Horvat’s scored eight times in nine games and has four goals in the last three. With two Thursday, Horvat became the Canucks’ first 30-goal scorer since Radim Vrbata in 2014-15.

One of Horvat’s 30 goals came during a 5-2 win at San Jose on Dec. 16. Teammate Brock Boeser has recorded three of his 19 goals while Vancouver won the two previous meetings against the Sharks this season. J.T. Miller, one shy of his first 30-goal season, has scored twice versus San Jose in 2021-22.

Vancouver’s Thatcher Demko, who could record his 30th win Saturday, has stopped 58 of 64 shots in this season’s two games against the Sharks (29-32-9, 67).

The Sharks have been outscored 20-11 during their current 0-4-1 rut — the second time this season they’ve gone winless in at least five consecutive contests.

San Jose lost to Calgary 4-2 at home Thursday, just hours after Doug Wilson stepped down as longtime general manager of the Sharks.

“I always come back to the same thing — it’s tough to win games if you’re only scoring one or two (goals),” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “We’re trying to battle hard, and we’re trying to get that puck luck and get something to happen, offensively.”

Despite San Jose’s offensive struggles, Logan Couture has recorded two his 23 goals in the last three games. He scored in the Sharks’ 5-4 overtime loss to Vancouver on Feb. 17. Teammate Timo Meier netted three of his career-high 31 goals in the two games against the Canucks this season.

The Sharks’ James Reimer has a 3.21 goals-against average during his current 0-2-1 starting stretch, but it’s unknown if he’ll be available after leaving in the third period Thursday following a collision. Backup Kaapo Kahkonen has allowed 12 goals in four starts with San Jose.

Vancouver star Quinn Hughes could miss a third straight game due to an illness. Meanwhile, teammate Tanner Pearson’s availability is also uncertain because of an upper-body issue.

–Field Level Media