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Coyotes, Sharks eye second straight victory
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes both will shoot for a second straight win to start the season, as the Pacific Division rivals meet Saturday at the Shark Tank.
The Sharks and Coyotes both kicked off their respective seasons on Thursday and each team posted 4-1 victories. San Jose, which is opening the campaign on a three-game homestand, downed the Vancouver Canucks, while Phoenix opened its season at home with its win over the New York Rangers.
Phoenix hasn't won consecutive games to begin a season since going 2-0 at the start of the 2009-10 campaign. San Jose, meanwhile, has a long way to go match its franchise-record start from last season, when the Sharks opened the lockout-shortened year with seven consecutive wins.
The Coyotes and Sharks met five times last season and San Jose posted a 3-1-1 record in those contests. Phoenix also has struggled at the Shark Tank in recent years, losing nine of its past 11 games at SAP Center.
San Jose fell behind 1-0 in its season-opening game, but recorded four unanswered goals -- two in the second period and two more in the third -- to take down the Canucks.
Brent Burns scored the first of San Jose's goals to even the game at 1-1 with 5:53 remaining in the second period. Patrick Marleau, Tommy Wingels and Justin Braun also scored for the Sharks, while Antti Niemi stopped 21-of-22 shots in the win.
The Sharks won the game despite going 0-for-8 on the power play. San Jose was one of the better teams with the man advantage last season, finishing tied for seventh in the league with a 20.1 percent success rate.
"I'm not concerned about that at all," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "It just was nice to get four goals 5-on-5 for a change and let our 5-on-5 game win us the game."
San Jose, which was 17-2-5 as the host in 2013, will close out its three-game homestand in Tuesday's game against the Rangers.
The Coyotes rode Radim Vrbata's fifth career hat trick to a win in their season and home opener against the Rangers. Vrbata, who had 12 goals in 34 games for the Coyotes in 2013, scored the final three goals of the game to break a 1-1 tie.
"We competed well. We played how we need to play to be successful," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said.
Kyle Chipchura scored the other goal for Phoenix, while Mike Smith made 23 saves for the Coyotes, who finished last in the Pacific Division in 2013 after making it to the Western Conference finals in the spring of 2012.
Saturday's tilt begins a five-game road trip for the Coyotes, who won't play another game as the host until Ottawa visits them on Oct. 15. Phoenix was 7-10-7 as the visiting team last season.
10/05 10:49:59 ET