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Sharks after better results at home against Coyotes

Locked into third place in division, San Jose wants to generate momentum entering playoffs

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

COYOTES (35-38-8) at SHARKS (45-30-6) 

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET; FS-A, CSN-CA+, NHL.TV 

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks will try to gain some momentum going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Arizona Coyotes at SAP Center on Saturday in the regular-season finale for each team.

The Sharks, who are coming off a 5-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, will finish third place the Pacific Division and begin the Western Conference First Round on the road against the Anaheim Ducks or Los Angeles Kings.

"I hope we can come out of tonight's game feeling good about our power play, our penalty kill, and our five-on-five play," Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said. "It's a good opportunity for us to work on it one last time before the real thing begins here."

The Sharks have lost five of their past six games at home, where they are 17-20-3 this season. They'd like to get another win on home ice before the playoffs begin.

"It's a game that doesn't mean much in the standings, but I think we want to win it in front of our home crowd," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "Last regular-season game, hopefully the place is full. Hopefully win at home."

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer made one tweak to his lineup with Dainius Zubrus returning to the fourth line in place of Michael Haley after sitting out the game against Winnipeg. None of San Jose's top players wanted to take a night off, DeBoer said.

"I know when we started having conversations with guys about the last two or three games of the season, whether some guys wanted to rest or maybe sit out some games, to a man they wanted to stay in the game rhythm, especially knowing that we might not play for a week," DeBoer said.

Goaltender Martin Jones, who gave up five goals on 26 shots to Winnipeg, will make his second straight start. Jones is 1-4-0 in his past five games while James Reimer is 4-1-0 with two shutouts.

DeBoer, however, said this game is no more important for Jones than it is for any other Sharks player.

"Everyone wants to feel good," DeBoer said. "I think his body of work speaks for itself. Whether he wins or loses tonight, or plays great or doesn't play great. It depends on your personality, and he's not the kind of guy, when you spend any time with him, that's going to walk in on Thursday of next week and carry around with him anything that happens tonight or last game. I'm not worried about that."

The Coyotes have 78 points, 22 more than they finished with last season, but will miss the playoffs. They've lost five of their past six games and the first three on their four-game road trip.

"You look back on the year and you can't believe it's gone," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "You wish you'd done more. You always wish you'd done more. Now I think you look at it differently. In the past you probably looked at it where you were more excited about the upcoming year. Now you look back and you're more reflecting and realize they come and go quickly, and they're going to be gone soon."

Doan, 39, has 28 goals and has a chance to score at least 30 for the third time in his career. His teammates will likely try to help him reach that milestone.

"I hope not," Doan said. "I've been fortunate enough and played long enough, I've got enough goals over my career. I'd love to get it, but they don't have to worry about me."

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Tanguay - Antoine Vermette - Anthony Duclair

Tobias Rieder - Laurent Dauphin - Viktor Tikhonov  

Max Domi - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan

Jordan Martinook - Boyd Gordon - Kyle Chipchura

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy

Kevin Connauton - Zbynek Michalek

Nicklas Grossman - Alex Grant

Mike Smith

Marek Langhamer

Injured: Eric Selleck (upper body), Martin Hanzal (upper body), Anders Lindback (Achilles tendon), Michael Stone (knee), Joe Vitale (concussion)

Scratched: Sergei Plotnikov, Jiri Sekac, Louis Domingue, Klas Dahlbeck


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Joel Ward

Nick Spaling - Patrick Marleau - Melker Karlsson

Dainius Zubrus - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Dylan DeMelo - Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Martin Jones

James Reimer

Injured: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (knee), Matt Nieto (broken knuckle), Matt Tennyson (concussion)

Scratched: Micheal Haley

Status report: Vlasic and Nieto practiced but will not be in the lineup. Both expect to be ready for the playoffs. ... Grossman, who left the Coyotes earlier in the week for the birth of his daughter, rejoined them and will be in the lineup for the first time since March 31 against the Dallas Stars, replacing Dahlbeck. ... Based on line rushes at the morning skate, Tikhonov will return to the lineup in place of Sekac.

Who's hot: Marleau has three goals in his past two games. ... Thornton has a six-game point streak with two goals and seven assists. ... Doan has three goals and an assist in his past six games. ... Vermette has two goals in his past three games.

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