Jonathan Cheechoo was having trouble finding the back of the net before his last game. He had no problem producing points against the Phoenix Coyotes last season.
After ending a slump with a two-goal performance, Cheechoo looks to continue his success against the Coyotes as the San Jose Sharks continue a four-game road trip Saturday with a visit to Jobing.com Arena.
The Sharks also will be trying for their first four-game winning streak of the season. San Jose, playing the second game of its road trip, has also won three straight away from HP Pavilion.
Cheechoo ended a seven-game scoring drought, and Patrick Marleau had his second career hat trick as the Sharks (12-5-0) won their third straight, 7-3 against Los Angeles on Thursday.
"It's a division game and everybody gets up for those," said Cheechoo, whose second goal also was the 100th in his career. "These games are a lot of fun to play."
Cheechoo, who has seven goals, won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal scorer with 56 last season. He needs one more to tie Mike Ricci for fifth on the club's all-time list.
San Jose was just 2-4-2 against Phoenix (4-11-0) last season, but the Sharks' struggles weren't because Cheechoo failed to produce - he had five goals and five assists in the season series.
Marleau, who recorded his first three-goal game since April 2002, has a team-high 10. He needs 10 more to move past Owen Nolan and become the team's all-time leading goal scorer.
Already without Ricci, leading scorer Mike Comrie and center Steve Reinprecht, Coyotes team officials revealed Friday that captain Shane Doan will miss 2 to 3 weeks with a lingering back injury. He has just four goals in 11 games after scoring a career-best 30 last season.
Comrie, the Coyotes' leading scorer with 11 points, is sidelined until early December with a broken foot. Reinprecht, who scored all five of his points this season in a season-opening win against the New York Islanders, has been out since Oct. 15 with a broken right collarbone.
Ricci hasn't played since suffering a neck injury in preseason, but could be back in three weeks.
Phoenix could have used those players Thursday, when it had a season-low 13 shots in a 1-0 loss to Dallas. It was the third time this season the Coyotes have been shut out this season, matching their total in 2005-06.
"There are things you have to do, and one of the things you have to do is have a work ethic," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said.
Curtis Joseph kept the Coyotes in the game, recording 34 saves.
"It's just one game," Joseph said. "We've got to find a way to win. A loss is a loss. We stuck to the game plan. We didn't generate a lot but at least we stuck to the game plan and didn't get away from that. If we do that we're going to be successful."
Joseph is 2-7-0 with a 4.05 goals-against average this season. His 32 career wins against the Sharks are the most he's recorded against any team.
|Mar 30 '07||PHX 2 at SJS 4||S. Hannan|
|Mar 15 '07||SJS 5 at PHX 1||J. Cheechoo|
|Jan 18 '07||PHX 2 at SJS 5||R. Clowe|
|Jan 13 '07||SJS 4 at PHX 1||R. Clowe|
|Dec 30 '06||SJS 0 at PHX 8||J. Roenick|
|Dec 28 '06||PHX 3 at SJS 2||Y. Perreault|
|Dec 11 '06||PHX 0 at SJS 4||M. Michalek|
|Nov 11 '06||SJS 2 at PHX 1||P. Marleau|