Canucks season begins tonight

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

The Vancouver Canucks begin their 37th season tonight with goaltender Roberto Luongo and his defence under fire from the San Jose Sharks (7 p.m. Team 1040/Sportsnet).

The Canucks will be seeking their 21st home opener victory, but it won't be easy against the teal-tailored Bay Area boys. They're led by the explosive combo of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo.

Thornton played all 82 games in 2006-2007 and racked up 92 assists to go with his 22 goals. Marleau (32) and Cheechoo (37) had more goals, but their combined assists (78) were fewer than the former Boston Bruin first rounder.

Like the Canucks, the Sharks were eliminated from the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring.

The Canucks beat the Sharks three times last regular season, including twice in overtime. Canucks lead the all-time series 39-25-10.

The teams' last meeting was fortuitous for both the Canucks and their nemesis, the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks.

Vancouver clinched the Northwest division title in the "Shark Tank" on April 7 when Mattias Ohlund scored on a power play 34 seconds into overtime.

Thornton, who forced overtime with his last-minute tying marker, ended the regular season in the sin bin. The San Jose loss gave Anaheim the Pacific division title.

The Canucks' first road game is tomorrow in Calgary against the Flames (7 p.m., Team 1040/CBC).


Videos

Photos