Coyotes at Sharks preview
Karlsson to miss fourth straight for San Jose; Ekman-Larsson game-time decision for Arizonaby Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent
COYOTES (23-23-4) at SHARKS (29-16-7)
10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSCA, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV
Defenseman Erik Karlsson will miss his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury when the San Jose Sharks host the Arizona Coyotes at SAP Center on Saturday.
Each team is playing its first game following its mandatory five-day break after the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend. Karlsson hasn't skated since playing in the All-Star Game, but Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said he expects him to return at some point during San Jose's upcoming four-game road trip, which begins at the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will return to the Sharks lineup after missing 10 games with a wrist injury.
San Jose is 1-3-0 in its past four games and have allowed six goals in each of them.
Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who has missed one game with a knee injury, will take part in warmups and be a game-time decision. Defenseman Jakob Chychrun has been dealing with a lower-body injury and will miss at least the next three games.
The Coyotes are 6-2-1 in their past nine games.
Players to watch
Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper, who will start, is 6-0-2 with a 2.07 goals-against average, .928 save percentage in his past eight starts.
Sharks forward Tomas Hertl has seven points (six goals, one assist) in his past five games.
They said it
"We all know our fate lays in these last 32 games. It's us and probably three or four other teams competing for those two wild-card spots. It's crunch time." -- Coyotes forward Christian Fischer
"When we're playing our best hockey, we're not giving up a lot. For whatever reason the last few games we started opening up a little bit too much." -- Sharks forward Joe Pavelski
Coyotes projected lineup
Clayton Keller -- Jordan Weal -- Christian Fischer
Richard Panik -- Derek Stepan -- Vinnie Hinostroza
Alex Galchenyuk -- Nick Cousins -- Conor Garland
Lawson Crouse -- Mario Kempe -- Josh Archibald
Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Niklas Hjalmarsson
Alex Goligoski -- Jordan Oesterle
Kevin Connauton -- Ilya Lyubushkin
Scratched: Kyle Capobianco, Michael Bunting
Injured: Christian Dvorak (pectoral), Jason Demers (knee), Antti Raanta (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Nick Schmaltz (knee), Brad Richardson (upper body); Jakob Chychrun (lower body)
Sharks projected lineup
Timo Meier -- Logan Couture -- Joe Pavelski
Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc
Lukas Radil -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson
Radim Simek -- Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon -- Justin Braun
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Tim Heed
Scratched: Joakim Ryan
Injured: Erik Karlsson (lower body)
Larsson didn't skate Saturday but practiced the previous two days.
Stepan has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past four games. … Dillon will play in his 500th NHL game. … Thornton is four assists shy of tying Gordie Howe (1,049) for ninth place on the NHL's all-time list. … Pavelski has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past two games and is two assists shy of 400 in the NHL.