NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, January 17th
(All times eastern)
San Jose Sharks (22-19-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (23-19-9), 4 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks ended a sizeable losing streak in their
last trip to the ice and will try to post consecutive wins when they visit the
surging Phoenix Coyotes for this afternoon's Pacific Division battle at
San Jose had lost six straight games -- all in regulation -- before ending the
slide with Saturday's 4-2 home victory over the St. Louis Blues. The win
allowed the Sharks to avoid their first seven-game skid since the 2005-06
Phoenix, meanwhile, has won four in a row and the Coyotes have yet to suffer a
regulation loss in 2011, posting a 6-0-2 record in January.
With 55 points, the Coyotes are second in the Pacific Division and four points
behind first-place Dallas. Phoenix is also fourth in the Western
Conference standings and just one point ahead of Nashville, Chicago and
The Sharks, who have won the last three Pacific titles, are currently tied
with Los Angeles for last in the division and are trailing Phoenix by six
San Jose and the Coyotes have so far met for just one of their six meetings
this season and the Sharks recorded a 4-1 home victory in that encounter on
Dec. 23. The Sharks have taken five straight and eight of 12 overall in the
series and have posted victories in their last two trips to the desert.
Dany Heatley scored two goals and Antti Niemi made 28 saves to lead the Sharks
to their recent home win over the Blues. The victory also ended a six-game
losing streak on home ice for San Jose.
Sharks captain Joe Thornton and Jamie McGinn also tallied for the Sharks, who
picked up their first win since they defeated Los Angeles on New Year's Day.
"It's been a while since we won, so everybody can just exhale for a little
bit," Thornton said. "But still, we've still got to work hard. This doesn't
Sharks forward Ryane Clowe missed Saturday's win with an undisclosed injury
and is questionable for this afternoon's contest. Meanwhile, Logan Couture
returned to the lineup Saturday after the standout rookie forward missed one
game with an injured right knee.
San Jose is 11-9-2 as the visiting team this season and will wrap a brief two-
game road trip Thursday night in Vancouver.
The Coyotes recorded their fourth straight win in impressive fashion, as they
pounded the visiting Anaheim Ducks, 6-2, on Saturday. Ray Whitney tallied two
goals and an assist as Phoenix recorded four or more goals for the fourth
Lee Stempniak added a goal and two assists while Sami Lepisto notched a goal
and an assist for the Coyotes. Taylor Pyatt and Adrian Aucoin also lit the
lamp for the victors and Ilya Bryzgalov made 26 saves.
"It was a good quality team effort from us," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett
said. "I felt like there was a lot of things on the line for us."
The Coyotes played Saturday without Ed Jovanovski, who suffered a lower-body
injury in Phoenix's 5-1 rout of Toronto on Thursday. Jovanovski was injured on
a blindside hit by Maple Leafs forward Mike Brown, who was suspended three
games for the incident. Jovanovski is questionable for this afternoon's
In other injury news, Coyotes forward Vernon Fiddler suffered an upper-body
injury on Saturday and is questionable for today's game. Also, defenseman
Michal Rozsival has bruised ribs and has yet to play for Phoenix since being
acquired in last week's trade with the New York Rangers. Rozsival is day-to-
Phoenix is 10-5-5 as the host this year and is playing the third test of a
four-game homestand today.
01/17 10:59:27 ET