VANCOUVER – Henrik Sedin didn’t know that Thursday night’s upcoming game against the Sharks is the final matchup of the season series between the two clubs, before a local reporter brought it up in a pregame media scrum.
“That’s weird, for sure,” Sedin said. “We’re 20 games into the season … They have a good team. You wouldn’t like to face them every week.”
This will be the 11th game between the two teams since the start of the shortened season in 2013, including the first round playoff matchup last May. The Sharks won the first nine, but dropped the most recent meeting one week ago at SAP Center.
It was one of just two regulation losses the 11-2-5 Sharks have suffered this season, and it wasn’t as close as the 4-2 final score would indicate.
“I thought it was one of our best games in a lot of different areas,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. “I think we’ll need that tonight.”
Sedin said: “We’ve played them a lot. It’s going to be a tough game again. Even though they struggled maybe getting points lately, they’re still a very good team.”
[IN THE CREASE: Sharks look to take season series from Canucks]
Tortorella was asked if the Canucks, who outworked the Sharks last Thursday, were just simply sick of constantly coming up short against San Jose in the past year.
“They were tired of hearing you guys talk about it, that was one thing I’m sure,” he said. “Quite honestly, we didn’t have much discussion on that. We know they’re a good opponent. We were just trying to play the best we could play and you get some momentum and try to carry on with it. You guys beat up on all the other stuff.”
Vancouver could use more production from its top line of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler. The Sedins are scoreless in their last three games, while Kesler has just one assist.
“I don’t think we played good enough. That’s the bottom line,” Henrik said. “We didn’t get enough chances. We could have scored a goal here and there, but if you don’t create enough chances, you’re not going to get those goals. We have to get back to playing the way we did earlier.”
Tortorella isn’t losing sleep over it.
“I don’t worry about it. I just think they are such pros and they are the heartbeat of our team here, they’ll get it figured out. … They are so good at assessing their game, they know where they’re at, and they’ll be better tonight.”
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Tortorella discussed the Alex Edler high hit on Tomas Hertl on Oct. 10, which earned the defenseman a three-game suspension by the league.
While mentioning that the NHL’s Player Safety department has a tough job and that he didn’t want to criticize the decision, Tortorella said: “That was a good hockey play, and quite honestly – and I wasn’t trying to be smart when I said it – we teach that. We want our D jamming the neutral zone when they have an opportunity. That’s what I felt that play was, and there happened to be contact. … It certainly wasn’t intentional.”