GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes remain in control of their playoff destiny, but the grip on that control is getting looser and looser.
The Coyotes' 1-1-1 road trip to Western Canada left them alive in the playoff race but in need of a great finish -- likely 12 points out their final seven games -- beginning Monday night when they open a two-game homestand against the San Jose Sharks at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes swept three games and all six points on their past homestand, and need to do the same against the Sharks and St. Louis Blues on Thursday to have any serious chance to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight year. Points in eight of the past nine games (5-1-3) have kept them afloat but even overtime losses aren't good enough anymore.
Phoenix will still be without Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) and the Coyotes sent Chris Brown back to Portland of the American Hockey League. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett indicated that all seven Phoenix defensemen might be employed against the Sharks.
The Sharks put themselves in great playoff position with a six-game winning streak that ended on April 7. But they are 0-2-2 since them and are 0-2-1 as they end a four-game road trip tonight. San Jose has struggled on the road all season (7-12-2) and two of their final three road games at in Glendale, where they will return on April 24.
The game will mark the Glendale return of winger Raffi Torres, who was traded by the Coyotes to the Sharks an hour before the trade deadline. Torres has played in four of San Jose's six games since the deal, chipping in two assists.
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Martin Havlat
TJ Galiardi – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Raffi Torres – Joe Pavelski - Tommy Wingels
Andrew Desjardins – Scott Gomez – Adam Burish
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle
Brad Stuart – Jason Demers
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Scratched: Tim Kennedy, James Sheppard, Matt Tennyson
Injured: Scott Hannan (neck)
Radim Vrbata - Martin Hanzal - Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Chris Conner
David Moss - Boyd Gordon - Rob Klinkhammer
Kyle Chipchura – Alexandre Bolduc
Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
David Schlemko - Michael Stone
Scratched: Paul Bissonnette
Injured: Lauri Korpikoski (upper body)