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game preview

Coyotes-Sharks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 5:15 AM

Associated Press

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Coyotes-Sharks Preview
Phoenix Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks

COYOTES (7-4-3) at SHARKS (9-4-1)

TV: CSN-California (HD)

LAST 10 : Phoenix 5-3-2; San Jose 8-1-1

Season Series : This is the second meeting of the season for these Pacific Division foes. San Jose won 6-3 at the Shark Tank on opening night with Joe Pavelski and Andrew Desjardins each scoring twice for the Sharks. San Jose has won 10 of 11 against Phoenix, including six in a row at home.

Big Story: The Sharks are the hottest team in the NHL, while the surprising Coyotes are trying to keep pace with them for second place in the division behind the surprising Dallas Stars as they begin a six-game trip.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: Phoenix has yet to lose in regulation this season when it scores first (6-0-3), but the Coyotes couldn't hold the lead after grabbing it Thursday against Montreal. Phoenix had four days off after an excellent performance against the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-2 victory, but couldn't continue the momentum against Montreal, losing 3-2 in overtime.

"They were missing a couple of their top guys and they came out and worked hard," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of the Canadiens. "We didn't work as hard as them, so (the result) is probably the way it should end up."

Sharks: San Jose lost three of four games to start the season and appeared to have some "Final Four hangover" -- semifinalists Boston, Vancouver and Tampa Bay also got off to sluggish starts. Since then, the Sharks have returned to elite status.

They've won eight of 10, and are 3-0-1 to start November, including Thursday's 3-1 win against Minnesota. The power play produced two of the three goals and is a League-best 9-for-30 (30.0 percent) at home.

Coach Todd McLellan said his team has had success by keeping things simple.

"We haven't had any issues with our power play," he said after Thursday's win. "We aren't trying to paint a Picasso. It's about scoring goals and our power play did that again for us. That part of it is good. We knew they were going to have a very good penalty kill, and we found ways to beat it and that's rewarding."

Who's Hot: Ray Whitney has had a multi-point game in three of the past six contests for the Coyotes. Radim Vrbata has four goals and nine points in that span. … Pavelski has seven multi-point games in his past 10 contests. San Jose Goaltender Thomas Greiss has stopped 64 of 67 shots in his past two appearances, collecting an overtime win against the New York Islanders and then a relief victory in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Injury Report: Phoenix defenseman Michal Rozsival has resumed skating, but he still hasn't played since getting hit in the face with a puck against the Sharks on opening night. Daymond Langkow missed the game Thursday against Montreal because of a death in the family but he is expected to be back in the lineup against the Sharks. … Greiss is with the Sharks because the guy expected to be the backup netminder, Antero Niittymaki, is out after having surgery in September.

Stat Pack: After allowing goals on three of four power plays to start the season (against the Sharks) the Coyotes have since killed off 42 of 45 shorthanded situations and were seventh in the League on the PK after Thursday night. The Sharks are tied for sixth in the League in goals per game, and a big reason why is they aren't afraid to put the puck on net. San Jose is averaging 36 shots per game, the most in the NHL. There were 58 players in the League with at least 44 shots on net after Thursday, and five of them (Ryane Clowe, Dan Boyle, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture) are Sharks.

Puck Drop: Joe Thornton is tied for 73rd on the NHL all-time scoring list with Jarome Iginla, but when he collected point No. 1,014 that pushed him past Pat LaFontaine, who is now 75th on the list.

"Pat was my favorite player growing up," Thornton said. "I had a chance to get his autograph when I was about 10 years old. I was always him playing road hockey. He was my guy; he was a force back in the '80s and '90s, so it's a big honor."

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 29 '12SJS 0 at PHX 2R. Vrbata
Mar 24 '12PHX 3 at SJS 4 - SOM. Handzus
Mar 10 '12SJS 0 at PHX 3M. Boedker
Feb 04 '12SJS 3 at PHX 5L. Korpikoski
Nov 12 '11PHX 3 at SJS 0R. Vrbata
Oct 08 '11PHX 3 at SJS 6A. Desjardins
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Whitney156915+4420
R. Vrbata156713+6612
M. Hanzal133811+31001
S. Doan154610-5830
K. Yandle15189-31201
B. Gordon15358+8401
D. Langkow13358-2401
L. Korpikoski15336+1401
O. Ekman-Larsson15336+0411
T. Pyatt15246+0600
D. Schlemko14156+8000
R. Torres15325+4700
M. Boedker15224-1200
R. Klesla15044+6900
P. O'Sullivan10213-2000
A. Aucoin15123+31010
D. Morris15022-61200
C. O'Reilly8022-4200
K. Chipchura5011+1200
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
P. Bissonnette6000+01100
A. Miele5000-2400
M. Rozsival1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Smith127-2-3273932.22.931
J. LaBarbera31-2-09903.02.900
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Pavelski159817+5631
P. Marleau156814+4621
J. Thornton154913+4601
R. Clowe154812+02020
L. Couture156511+2600
D. Boyle151910+21411
M. Havlat11178+3810
B. Burns15336-1021
M. Handzus15224+2410
M. Vlasic15134+5200
T. Mitchell12134+1400
D. Murray15033+81500
A. Desjardins14202-32101
J. McGinn15112+3200
J. Demers7022-6200
J. Vandermeer4022+3500
B. Ferriero4101+0001
B. Winchester15011-31300
J. Braun8011+3400
T. Wingels3011+0400
A. Murray15000-1200
C. White12000-5600
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
A. Niemi106-2-1252572.74.903
T. Greiss63-3-0131612.15.919