NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 1st
(All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (25-17-9) at San Jose Sharks (25-19-6), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Neither the Coyotes or the Sharks are where they want to be
in the standings at this point in the season.
The two clubs will look to make a move in the standings as San Jose tries to
extend a five-game point streak while Phoenix aims for a sixth straight road
victory in tonight's clash at HP Pavilion.
San Jose has won the last three Pacific Division titles, but is currently
fourth in the division and tied with two other clubs for seventh overall in
the Western Conference. Phoenix, meanwhile, is currently third in the Pacific
after finishing as the runner-up last year.
The Coyotes trail the Ducks by one point for second in the division and fifth
overall in the West, but won just two of six prior to the All-Star break. They
did pick up a victory in their last game, a 5-2 triumph in Colorado.
Defenseman Keith Yandle had a goal and an assist to run his point streak to
nine straight games (2 goals, 12 assists) before joining Team Lidstrom for
Sunday's All-Star Game. Yandle did not log a point in his club's 11-10 victory
over Team Staal, but still leads all NHL blueliners with 36 assists and a
career-high 44 points.
On Monday, Yandle was named the league's Second Star for the month of January
after logging 17 points in 14 games.
"He's had an unbelievable year," head coach Dave Tippett told Phoenix's
website. "He's played so well for us. Let's hope that he got a little bit of
time to rest [over the break] ... He's been our top player here this year and,
really, he's been one of the top defensemen in the league throughout the
Yandle has been helped out offensively by Scottie Upshall, who has three goals
in his last two games and leads the Coyotes with 15 tallies on the season.
Phoenix, which is 15-8-4 on the road this season, will hope to have defenseman
Michal Rozsival back in the lineup tonight after he missed the last two games
with an upper-body injury. He did practice on Monday.
Ilya Bryzgalov will likely get the start in net and he is 9-7-4 with a 2.19
goals-against average in his career versus the Sharks. However, he is 0-1-3 in
his last four against them with a 2.13 GAA.
Phoenix has lost its last six overall to San Jose, going 0-3-3 in that span.
That includes a pair of regulation setbacks this season, one at HP Pavilion
that ran the Coyotes' losing streak there to three straight.
The Sharks will honor Patrick Marleau before tonight's game for playing in his
1,000th career game back on Jan. 17 versus the Coyotes. He is the youngest
player in league history to reach that milestone with one team and has 729
points in 1,003 games with San Jose.
Marleau scored in the 4-2 victory at Phoenix, giving him six goals in his last
four games versus the franchise.
San Jose is 4-0-1 in its last five games following a shootout loss to the
Kings last Wednesday, but is just 2-6 in its last eight at home. The Sharks
begin a seven-game road trip on Wednesday in Anaheim.
Dan Boyle will play tonight after logging an assist for Team Staal on
Wednesday. The blueliner has 27 assists and 32 points on the season.
"You get a chance to play with different guys, if you play East against West,
you might not have a chance to play with certain players," Boyle told NHL.com
of his All-Star Game experience. "Hopefully the fans like it. I certainly had
fun and am looking forward to another one."
Sharks rookie Logan Couture has three goals and two assists in his last four
games and leads all freshman skaters with a team-high 22 goals.
With Antero Niittymaki still nursing a lower-body injury, Antti Niemi should
get the start and is 3-0-1 with a 1.72 GAA when facing Phoenix.
02/01 11:10:07 ET