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Coyotes-Sharks Preview

NHL.com @NHL

The Phoenix Coyotes have lost their last four meetings with the San Jose Sharks. They're going to get plenty of chances to end that skid over the next few days.

Phoenix tries to extend its road winning streak to six on Saturday night when it visits the Sharks for the first of three straight games against their Pacific Division rivals.

The first two games of the rare scheduling quirk will be at HP Pavilion on Saturday and Monday, and the teams meet again Thursday at Jobing.com Arena. San Jose, though, visits Dallas on Wednesday before facing the Coyotes the next night.

Playing on the road shouldn't affect the Coyotes (7-7-0), who have outscored opponents 20-9 during a five-game win streak away from home.

They have won six consecutive road contests twice since the franchise moved from Winnipeg following the 1995-96 season, most recently from Dec. 28-Jan. 9. The Jets won eight straight road games from Feb. 25-April 6, 1985.

While their road play has been outstanding, that has been offset by poor play at home. Phoenix had lost six in a row on home ice before ending that skid Thursday with a 5-2 victory over Dallas.

Steven Reinprecht had two goals and an assist and Ed Jovanovski added a goal and two assists as the Coyotes earned their first home win since a season-opening 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Oct. 4.

"It's been a long time," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "What was disappointing is other than the two losses, we competed well and played well in the other five home games."

To have any chance at reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02, the Coyotes need production from captain Shane Doan, as well as some of their young players. After a slow start, both are starting to deliver.

Doan has three goals and six assists in his last six games while rookie Peter Mueller has three goals and two assists in his last two contests.

With Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo doing most of scoring, the Sharks have won four straight against the Coyotes by a combined 18-6 score.

Thornton has two goals and eight assists during that span while Cheechoo has four goals and three assists.

Expected to be among the league's best teams, San Jose (7-7-2) has played below expectations thus far. The Sharks have won a league-low one home game, and dropped to 2-4-1 in their last seven overall with a 3-2 shootout loss Friday at Anaheim.

"There are times that we are doing a lot of very positive things, and other times where we let down and let teams gain a little momentum. That was the story again tonight," Sharks defenseman Craig Rivet said.

Unless coach Ron Wilson decides to give rookie Dimitri Patzold his first NHL start, Evgeni Nabokov will be in net for his 17th straight game Saturday.

Nabokov, Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers are the only goaltenders to start all of their teams' games this season.

Nabokov is 11-10-1 with two ties and a 2.71 goals-against average in 28 games against the Coyotes. He has won his last two starts against them while allowing three total goals.

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