The San Jose Sharks, seeking their fourth straight win, try to increase their lead over one of the teams chasing them in the Pacific Division as they open a home-and-home series with the Phoenix Coyotes.
While San Jose has matched its second-longest winning streak of the season at three, Phoenix has gone without a victory in its last four to fall into fourth place in the division -- 10 points behind the first-place Sharks.
San Jose, which won a season-best five in a row from Nov. 21-30, extended its current win streak Monday with a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings -- co-owners of the league's best record.
Evgeni Nabokov made 34 saves and Niko Dimitrakos had a goal and an assist as the Sharks posted their third straight win against a first-place team following victories over Vancouver and Colorado.
"When you consider the teams that we just beat, it's certainly gratifying," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "It builds your confidence that you can play against anybody. I still think we give up too many scoring chances, and there's a lot of improvement to make ... but our record speaks for itself."
San Jose has won 11 of 15, earning at least a point in 13 of those games while surging to a healthy lead in the Pacific.
Phoenix skated to a 3-3 tie on the road with Detroit on Friday to fall to 0-2-2 in its last four games. The Coyotes had won a season-high five in a row prior to the skid.
Phoenix held a 3-2 lead late in the game, but Detroit was able to salvage a point when it scored on a goal-mouth scramble with 1:44 left in regulation.
"It squirted loose and that's unfortunate," Phoenix coach Bob Francis said. "You come to Detroit and get a point, and you can't argue with that. Unfortunately, we had the lead and let it get away."
"It was an exciting game, but we didn't come here to put on a show," Boucher said. "We came here to get two points, and we were (1:44) away from doing it."
The Sharks and Coyotes conclude the home-and-home set in San Jose on Thursday.