Sharks Smell Blood, Aim For 2-0 Series Lead In Vancouver: Game Preview


May 1, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks right wing Jannik Hansen (36) and San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuard (7) chase a loose puck during the second period of game one of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, in game 2 of this Western Conference series, the Vancouver Canucks will try to even up the series with the San Jose Sharks.  San Jose leads the series 1-0 on the road.

Vancouver came out strong and physical during their first two periods in game one and the game was tied at one until that point.

Then, in the third period, when the Canucks drastically slowed down their hitting, San Jose proceeded to score their final two goals, ensuring the 3-1 victory.

With that being said, it’s not rocket science.  Expect the Canucks to be flying all over the place once again trying to hit anything and everything that moves in a Sharks uniform.

The hitting was definitely effective, especially in the second where Vancouver controlled a majority of play, and no doubt they will be looking to replicate that.  San Jose better be ready to go.

San Jose forward Martin Havlat, who was injured midway through the first period on Wednesday, was not at practice earlier today.  This means the lineups will be very different once again as the Sharks cope with his and Scott Gomez’s injuries.

According to multiple sources it looks like Tim Kennedy will play on the fourth line tonight.  Raffi Torres will stay on the top line with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau while Andrew Desjardins and Tommy Wingels will flank Joe Pavelski on the third line.

It also looks as if Roberto Luongo will be in net once again for Cory Schneider who is diagnosed with a ‘body injury’.  Yup, it’s that time of the year.  I guess we’re not even throwing upper or lower out anymore to at least give some sort of description.

Luongo looked very good early on, especially on San Jose’s first power play, and will be just as tough tonight.  I would say that two of the three goals that were scored on him he really did not have a chance at.

Whether Vancouver fans agree or not is a totally different story because he has been getting some unwarranted flack for whatever reason, but he looked like the Canucks’ best player on Wednesday.  He has the potential to steal games in the playoffs so I expect the same type of effort tonight from him.

If the Sharks can weather another early storm from the Vancouver Canucks they have a shot at winning the game.  They’ve already done what they wanted to do, which was earn a split on the road, so another win at Rogers Arena would be a devastating blow the the Canucks.  Expect a desperate game (even though it’s only game 2) tonight from a Vancouver team that does NOT want to go to HP Pavilion down 0-2 where San Jose was the best in the league at home.