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Sharks aim to maintain playoff hopes at Coyotes

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com

SHARKS (39-30-9) at COYOTES (23-47-8)

TV: CSN-CA+, FS-A+

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The San Jose Sharks are doing everything they can to stretch their run of Stanley Cup Playoff appearances to 11 straight seasons.

The Sharks still need help to get there, but a fifth win in six games and a second victory in as many nights against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; CSN-CA+, FS-A+) is a must.

The Sharks moved within three points of the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference with a 3-1 win against the Coyotes in San Jose on Friday. The Kings and Jets each have a game in hand, meaning the Sharks must keep winning to have any hope of sneaking past them.

San Jose is 4-0-1 in its past five games, its longest point streak since going 5-0-1 from Dec. 9-22. Joe Pavelski’s 37th goal, and a goal and an assist from Logan Couture, were enough to keep the Sharks rolling on Friday.

"We've got to win [Saturday]," Pavelski said. "We'll see what other teams do and all we can do is play."

The Coyotes played backup goalie Louis Domingue on Friday but the Sharks will face Mike Smith on Saturday. Smith finished a strong month of March by making 32 saves in a 2-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on March 30. Smith had a .934 save percentage and a 2.42 goals-against average, allowing three goals or less in 10 of the 12 games over that span.

The Coyotes' struggling offense has been helped by center Mark Arcobello, who scored his career-high 16th goal Friday. Since being claimed on waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Arcobello has eight goals and 14 points in 23 games.

Arizona has lost eight straight games at Gila River Arena (0-7-1) and has one win in its past 18 games overall (1-15-2). The Coyotes haven't won a home game in regulation since defeating the Jets 4-1 on Jan. 8.

"You hang around, but you need more than just hanging around in this League if you're going to be a competitive team," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

Here are the projected lineups:

SHARKS

Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tomas Hertl

Matt Nieto - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

Mike Brown - Ben Smith - Barclay Goodrow

Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun

Karl Stollery - Brent Burns

Matt Irwin - Taylor Fedun

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: John Scott

Injured: Raffi Torres (knee), Mirco Mueller (left hand), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body), Scott Hannan (eye)

COYOTES

Tobias Rieder - Mark Arcobello - Shane Doan

Martin Erat - Sam Gagner - David Moss

Tye McGinn - Kyle Chipchura - Jordan Szwarz

Craig Cunningham - Joe Vitale - B.J. Crombeen

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone

Klas Dahlbeck - Connor Murphy

Brandon Gormley - John Moore

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Andrew Campbell

Injured: Mikkel Boedker (upper body), Martin Hanzal (upper body), Lauri Korpikoski (upper body)

Status report: Hannan missed the game Friday. He skated with a cage mask and might return to the lineup Saturday. … Korpikoski is still recovering from taking a stick in the mouth last week and won't play.

Who's hot: Couture has a five-game point streak (4-4-8) and has a goal in three straight games. … Arcobello has six points (3-3-6) in his past five games.

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