Sharks try to avoid seventh straight home loss to Canucks

Though they are nearly at opposite ends of the Pacific Division, the San Jose Sharks haven't been able to solve the Vancouver Canucks when they visit northern California for a while.

The Sharks try to avoid a seventh straight home loss to the Canucks when the teams meet Thursday night.

Division-leading San Jose (37-18-7) defeated sixth-place Vancouver (26-29-7) twice in western Canada this season, including a 4-1 victory on Saturday night. It's been a much different story on home ice for the Sharks, who have been outscored 21-11 during their SAP Center losing streak to their rivals.

The Sharks are coming off a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night and have picked up points in seven straight games (4-0-3). However, the bigger news was made off the ice.

Less than 24 hours before the trade deadline, San Jose acquired Jannik Hansen from the Canucks for Nikolay Goldobin in a swap of forwards. Vancouver also received a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Hansen, playing in his 10th season, appeared in only 28 games because of a knee injury and a fractured rib. Hansen, a native of Denmark who turns 31 on March 15, has six goals and seven assists and brings grit to his game.

"I enjoyed playing here. My family likes it here. (I have) a lot of very good friends throughout the organization, so it's with a heavy heart that I'm leaving a place like this," said Hansen, who was a healthy scratch Tuesday in the Canucks' 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday that Hansen is "right in his prime. He fits how we want to play now and in the future."

It was the second trade leading up to the deadline for the Canucks, who are in a bit of a rebuilding mode after dealing veteran forward Alexandre Burrows to the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

"It's going to be interesting to see how we react (to the trades)," Vancouver's Henrik Sedin said.

Hansen's debut with the Sharks will be delayed while he clears up his immigration status.

Still, it could be a night to celebrate for San Jose's Joe Thornton, who's on the cusp of a rare milestone. "Jumbo Joe" picked up one assist against the Maple Leafs, leaving him one shy of becoming the 13th player in NHL history with 1,000 for his career.

He has at least one point in eight of the Sharks' last nine matchups with the Canucks, totaling a goal and nine assists.

Vancouver's defense must also try to slow down red-hot Brent Burns, who has five goals and four assists in a six-game points streak.

With 27 goals, Burns needs one more to set a career high. He's posted points in three straight home games against the Canucks (goal, three assists).

As for Vancouver, it's playoff hopes are dwindling after going 3-8-1 in February. The Canucks are eight points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild-card spot.

Daniel Sedin led Vancouver in scoring with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 12 games in February. Among current Canucks, he leads the team in scoring in San Jose with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists), one more than Henrik.

No other player has more than five points.
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