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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 1st (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (19-10-6) at San Jose Sharks (17-11-6), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks are hoping to better their playoff chances by extending their longest winning streak since the opening month of the season.
The Sharks take aim at a fifth straight victory on Monday night as they host the Vancouver Canucks, who aim to rebound after having their season high-tying winning streak halted.
San Jose has won consecutive games for just the second time since it set a franchise record by winning its first seven games of the season. The Sharks current four-game run began with a home-and-home sweep of the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks and they took the home portion by a 4-0 margin.
That victory also opened a seven-game homestand and San Jose notched its second straight shutout victory on Thursday with a 2-0 decision over the Detroit Red Wings, two days before besting the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout.
Antti Niemi, who was in net for the back-to-back blankings, saw his shutout streak end at 136 minutes, 23 seconds when he gave up a first-period goal at the 14:43 mark, but ended with 27 saves and stopped all three skaters faced in the shootout to defeat the Coyotes.
Logan Couture had the lone tally of the tiebreaker, while Joe Pavelski scored in a fourth straight game to match a career high and had an assist.
"When you're in a little stretch like this you're just trying to remind yourself to shoot the puck, and that's been a big part," said Pavelski. "It's been a simple game. We've gotten a lot of pucks in deep. We got some good looks tonight. We got some really good looks."
Marc-Edouard Vlasic also lit the lamp for the Sharks, who stand sixth overall in the Western Conference with 40 points, one ahead of Detroit and three back of the Los Angeles Kings.
San Jose will try to extend its winning streak by sweeping its three-game season series with Vancouver. That includes a 4-1 victory on Jan. 27 that snapped a four-game series home losing streak.
The Canucks had a six-game winning streak halted on Saturday with a 4-0 setback to the Edmonton Oilers. That left them tied with the Minnesota Wild atop the Northwest Division, though the Canucks have two fewer wins and one more game played.
The Wild are hosting the St. Louis Blues on Monday.
Vancouver was tagged early and often versus Edmonton as Cory Schneider was pulled after giving up two goals on the only two shots he faced, including one just 16 seconds into the game.
Schneider had given up just six goals with two shutouts over Vancouver's six- game winning streak.
"You know, two shots, two goals. It's a terrible start to put your team in a hole like that," Schneider said. "We plan on being prepared and it starts with me in net and talk about making a big save or two to get you team in it, settle down a little bit and I didn't do that. It costs us, put us in a hole and we were never able to recover from it."
Roberto Luongo finished the game in net and gave up two goals on 22 shots.
04/01 11:00:25 ET