In the Crease: Sharks resume schedule in Phoenix

Sharks return from the break for battle with gritty Coyotes

In the Crease: Sharks resume schedule in Phoenix
December 27, 2013, 8:45 am
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This is the third of four meetings between the Sharks and Coyotes, and first at Arena. The series is tied 1-1. (USATSI)

Programming note: Sharks-Coyotes coverage gets underway at 5:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 23-8-6, 52 points, 3rd Pacific Division, 5th Western Conference
Coyotes: 19-10-7, 45 points, 5th Pacific Division, 8th Western Conference


Goals per game: 3.14 (4th)
Goals-against per game: 2.40 (10th)
Power play: 18.4 percent (14th)
Penalty kill: 82.8 percent (11th)

Goals per game: 2.97 (6th)
Goals-against per game: 2.97 (25th)
Power play: 19.1 percent (12th)
Penalty kill: 78.8 percent (25th)

Probable lines

Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Matt Nieto – John McCarthy – Tyler Kennedy
James Sheppard – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle
Brad Stuart – Jason Demers

Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Tim Kennedy – Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Rob Klinkhammer – Antoine Vermette – Mikkel Boedker
Lauri Korpikoski – Mike Ribeiro – David Moss
Paul Bissonnette – Jeff Halpern – Kyle Chipchura

Connor Murphy – Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Keith Yandle – Derek Morris
Mike Stone – David Rundblad

Mike Smith
Thomas Greiss

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks claimed their second straight shootout win, 5-4 over Colorado on Monday night at SAP Center. After allowing two late third period goals to fall behind, Joe Pavelski tied it with 20 seconds left on his sixth goal in the last seven games. Brent Burns led the offense with a goal and two assists, and the Sharks got power play goals from Jason Demers and Matt Irwin.

Coyotes: The Buffalo Sabres recorded a rare win, beating Phoenix at home on Monday, 2-1 in overtime. Martin Hanzal got the Coyotes’ only goal in the loss, and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller stopped 36 of 37 shots, beating Mike Smith, who had 30 saves. The Coyotes will play seven of their next eight games at home, where they are 10-3-2.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Brent Burns. The winger scored one goal and added two assists on Monday, his first multiple-point game since Nov. 29. Burns had eight shots on goal and 16 attempts at the net, in breaking out of a scoring slump in a big way. Burns’ 10 goals ties him for fourth on the team with Logan Couture, but Burns’ have come in just 24 games.

Coyotes: Martin Hanzal. One of four Czech players on the Coyotes’ roster, the 26-year-old center enters with a three-game point streak (2g, 1a). His 25 points have him just two off the team lead, but Hanzal has just eight points (2g, 6a) in 36 career games against the Sharks. The Coyotes are 10-5-5 when he records at least one point.


Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee), Marty Havlat (lower body), Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery), and Adam Burish (back surgery) are out.

Coyotes: Shane Doan (Rocky Mountain spotted fever) and Zbynek Michalek (hip) are out.

Season/All-Time series

This is the third of four meetings between the two teams, and first at Arena. The Sharks beat the Coyotes 4-1 on Oct. 5, while Phoenix claimed a shootout win on Nov. 2, 3-2, with both games at SAP Center. The Sharks have recorded at least 50 shots on goal in both games.

Joe Pavelski leads the Sharks with four points against Phoenix this season (1g, 3a). Mikkel Boedker is the only Coyotes player with more than one point against San Jose (1g, 1a). Antt Niemi and Mike Smith opposed each other in net in each of the first two games.

All-time, the Sharks are 60-46-7-9 against the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise.

The Sharks return to the desert on April 12 in the final game of the regular season.


“It just reminds us, we’ve got to get back to the basics and what makes our power play successful. That's getting pucks to the middle, shooting it, moving well on the point, using each other and getting bodies and pucks to the net. It's very simplified, but I think that's what makes us successful." – Matt Irwin, on the Sharks’ new power play units