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Game #49 Preview: Arizona vs. San Jose

Adin Hill starts and Michael Grabner returns as the Coyotes play their final home game ahead of the All-Star break

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #49: ARIZONA (25-18-5) vs. SAN JOSE (21-22-4)

7:00 PM MST - Gila River Arena | Glendale, AZ

TV: Fox Sports Arizona Plus (Matt McConnell, Tyson Nash, Todd Walsh, Jody Jackson)

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis, Paul Bissonnette)

Referees: Chris Rooney #5, Kyle Rehman #10

Linesmen: Trent Knorr #63, Devin Berg #87

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ARIZONA VS. SAN JOSE

The Coyotes play their final home game ahead of the All-Star break as they host the San Jose Sharks tonight at Gila River Arena, marking the third of four scheduled meetings between the teams this season.

Arizona will travel to San Jose's SAP Center for the series finale on March 29.

The Coyotes are coming off of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night, but have now earned points in each of their last four games played on home ice (3-0-1).

All three of the Coyotes' remaining games before the All-Star break will come against divisional opponents. "There's a break coming up, so you've got to empty the tank," head coach Rick Tocchet said. "We had a day off yesterday, so we're trying to manage the guys' rest. Our schedule's our schedule, but we've dealt with it pretty well. We have to be mentally strong, that's it."

The Sharks are playing the first of a three-game road trip and are coming off of a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday. San Jose has won consecutive games and has earned points in five of its last six games (4-1-1).

"They're one of those teams where you can't get caught sleeping around your own net," Tocchet said of the Sharks. "They're really good at shot passes and deflections, those are the little things they do really well we find in our scouting report, you've got to be really good around your own net, especially in the slot, taking away sticks."

Adin Hill will make his fourth start of the season, Tocchet confirmed after the morning skate. Michael Grabner will return to the lineup and replace Christian Fischer .

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THREE THINGS

PACIFIC PARITY: Even though the Coyotes are sitting atop the Pacific Division at evening's outset, things are a bit too close for comfort. Any of the top five teams, all of whom are within two points of each other, could finish the night in first place. Arizona is 8-4-3 against divisional opponents this season.

HOME, SWEET HOME: The Coyotes enter the night on a season-high four-game home point streak (3-0-1). "I think it's a real important thing to gain traction at home, especially as the season closes and our schedule really gets favorable," Taylor Hall said. "I think we've managed to string together some successful home games, some games where we've really played to our identity, and that's what you want at home, you want to make it tough for the other team to find their game and we've done that."

CHASING 100: Nick Schmaltz and Carl Soderberg enter the night approaching milestones. Schmaltz's next assist will serve as the 100th of his NHL career and Soderberg's next goal will serve as the 100th of his NHL career. Schmaltz leads the Coyotes in scoring this season with 35 points, including a team-high 28 assists. Soderberg is second on the team in goals scored with 13.

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LAST TIME AROUND

DECEMBER 17, 2019 - ARIZONA (3) at SAN JOSE (2)

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored with less than three minutes remaining in regulation to lift the Coyotes over the Sharks in the teams' previous meeting on December 17 at San Jose's SAP Center.

Taylor Hall, making his Coyotes debut in the win, assisted on Ekman-Larsson's game-winning tally. The teams traded goals during the opening two periods of play; Carl Soderberg and Derek Stepan scored for Arizona.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced to earn the win. Arizona is 1-1-0 against San Jose so far this season.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

TEN (10)

Taylor Hall registered his second multi-point game in a Coyotes uniform on Sunday night, recording a goal and assist to give him a total of 10 points (4G, 6A) in 13 games since being acquired in a trade on December 16.

Hall's goal on Sunday served as his 10th of the season and his fourth in a Coyotes uniform; He is the seventh player on the team to hit double-digits in goals scored this season.

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QUICK HITS

  • Taylor Hall has 27 points (12G, 15A) in 31 career games against the Sharks.
  • Derek Stepan leads the Coyotes in divisional scoring with 10 points (6G, 4A) against Pacific opponents.
  • The Coyotes are 12-0-2 this season when Carl Soderberg records a point.
  • Tomas Hertl is the Sharks' active leader in scoring with 36 points (14G, 22A).
  • The Sharks rank first in the NHL with an 88.2 PK%.
  • Phil Kessel (822) and Patrick Marleau (831) enter with two of the three longest active NHL consecutive games played streaks.
  • Arizona owns a 65-64-8-12 all-time record against San Jose.

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Lead Photo Credit: Norm Hall - NHLI via Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Norm Hall - NHLI via Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

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