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San Jose
Sharks
Phoenix
Coyotes

38 SOG
33 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
SJS
PHX
game preview

Sharks, Coyotes set for crucial showdown

Thursday, 03.29.2012 / 1:55 AM

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

SHARKS (39-28-10) at COYOTES (37-27-13)

TV: NHLN-CA, CSN-CA (HD), FS-A (HD)


Last 10: San Jose 6-3-1; Phoenix 4-2-4

Season Series: This is the sixth and final meeting between these Pacific Division rivals. Phoenix is 3-1-1 against San Jose and most recently handed the Sharks a 3-0 loss on March 10 at Jobing.com Arena.

Big Story: The Sharks and Coyotes are two of four teams in a fierce battle for not only a playoff spot, but a division crown. Entering Thursday's action, first and fourth place in the Pacific are separated by just two points. 
 
Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose let two valuable points slip away Wednesday night, as it suffered a 3-1 loss at Anaheim. The game was tied after 40 minutes, but the Ducks pulled away in the third on goals by Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry. The Sharks lost five times in regulation against Anaheim this season.

"It's probably their depth up front," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "They're a four-line team. That's probably been our Achilles heel. We haven't been able to match a four-line game with them. We played solid, but I would have liked to see us finish a couple more chances."

Coyotes: Phoenix was idle Wednesday but dropped out of the top eight thanks to victories by both Dallas and Los Angeles. The Coyotes enter Thursday's action one point behind the Sharks, with both teams having five games remaining in the regular season. Phoenix opened a four-game homestand in disappointing fashion Tuesday night in a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

"It's tough to get a chance against (St. Louis)," Coyotes forward Lauri Korpokoski said. "They play a really tight game. I had a pretty good chance in the third (period) and you've got to score on those if you want to turn the game around."

Who's Hot: Ryane Clowe has goals in back-to-back games for San Jose.

Injury Report: Radim Vrbata (lower body), Taylor Pyatt (upper body) and Adrian Aucoin (lower body) are all day-to-day for Phoenix.

Stat Pack: Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris appeared in his 1,000th NHL game Tuesday night, becoming the 277th player to reach the milestone.

Puck Drop: "We have a lot to lose and it doesn't matter if they have everything to lose or nothing to lose. We should win that game. It's disappointing. This doesn't hurt our chances. We're still coming. We got five games coming and the next game's going to be big. We got to win. It's a setback, but we want to take a step forward and get where we were. We got to keep moving forward and we missed a chance." -- Sharks center Joe Pavelski after Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Anaheim
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
J. Thornton78165672+142432
L. Couture76303060-114104
P. Marleau78283159+82488
J. Pavelski78292756+132981
D. Boyle7773744+45731
R. Clowe72152641-58542
B. Burns77112536+53252
J. McGinn61121224+12630
M. Handzus6671724-61820
D. Moore7541923-185401
M. Havlat3561622+81831
D. Winnik8071421-124801
M. Vlasic7841721+93801
T. Mitchell7391019-62200
A. Desjardins7241216+34203
T. Galiardi658614-84902
J. Braun622911-32310
J. Demers542911-102211
B. Winchester676410-58800
T. Wingels29369-21600
B. Ferriero35718+0804
C. White50134-51900
A. Murray39134+3400
J. Vandermeer25134+33300
D. Murray59044+33100
J. McCarthy10000-21000
F. McLaren7000+0900
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
A. Niemi6431-22-915017512.43.914
T. Greiss188-7-1404662.36.914
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Whitney78235073+252671
R. Vrbata73322658+2322811
S. Doan75212647-114855
K. Yandle78103141+45102
L. Korpikoski78171835+01403
A. Vermette78102434-172434
M. Hanzal6082432+115932
O. Ekman-Larsson78121931-42821
D. Langkow69111728-51411
R. Torres75151025+16411
B. Gordon7171421+61001
M. Boedker7891120-61202
T. Pyatt707916-72100
K. Chipchura5231316+24200
G. Brule294913+6210
R. Klesla6131013+94300
D. Schlemko4611011+71000
D. Morris552810-132800
A. Aucoin62279+134010
M. Rozsival50189+32400
D. Rundblad30167-12600
C. O'Reilly27246-7410
P. O'Sullivan23224-4200
M. Pouliot13044-2200
M. Stone11123+4200
C. Summers21033-41100
P. Bissonnette31101-44101
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
A. Miele7000-3600
K. Turris6000-2400
A. Bolduc2000-1200
M. Watkins1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Smith6334-18-1014219122.33.926
J. LaBarbera193-9-3434862.54.912
C. McElhinney21-0-02361.67.944