NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 10th (All times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (33-24-9) at Phoenix Coyotes (33-25-10), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Two Pacific Division rivals hope to stop the bleeding this evening when the San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes collide at Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix enters the contest having lost five (0-4-1) straight, while the Sharks have dropped four (0-2-2) in a row. Both slides have come at an inopportune time, as the division leading Dallas Stars have emerged with a point in nine straight games and lead the Coyotes and San Jose by three and four points, respectively.
The Coyotes' latest setback came on Thursday, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild. Raffi Torres and Lauri Korpikoski lit the lamp for the Coyotes, while Jason LaBarbera gave up a pair of goals on 24 shots.
"You can't chase games like that all the time," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said. "We were lucky to get a point. I thought we played well enough to get two points. It's frustrating."
Phoenix, which has been outscored 10-1 in the first period of its slide and is 2-for-21 on the power play in that span, will be trying to avoid its first six-game skid since Jan. 27-Feb. 7, 2009.
San Jose, meanwhile, failed to help its own cause on Thursday, as it dropped a 4-3 shootout to Stars on Thursday. Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Torrey Mitchell all scored while Joe Thornton added three assists for the Sharks, while Antti Niemi made 32 saves.
"We got the point but at this time of the year we need to get two," said Pavelski. "We played a hard game out there tonight, just came up short."
Niemi, who allowed four goals on 23 shots the last time he faced the Coyotes, has been in net for all four of the Sharks' recent losses and has a solid 2.18 goals against average in that stretch.
San Jose, which has failed to cash in on 10 chances with the man advantage during its four-game drought, sits in the eighth spot in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Calgary, Los Angeles and Colorado.
Phoenix has beaten the Sharks in two of its three matchups with them this season, but San Jose has won 10 of 13 in the series. The Sharks, though, have dropped seven of 12 in Glendale.
03/10 10:57:33 ET