Skip to main content

Sharks-Coyotes Preview @NHL

Coach Wayne Gretzky doesn't want his Phoenix Coyotes dwelling on their first loss of 2007, because he knows their next opponent is going to be looking for some revenge.

The Coyotes look to bounce back on Saturday when they host the San Jose Sharks, who were embarrassed in Phoenix just two weeks ago.

Phoenix (20-21-2) lost to Detroit 5-1 on Thursday, snapping its seven-game win streak - the team's longest since winning eight straight from Nov. 16-Dec. 2, 1999.

Yanic Perreault, who has five goals and six assists in his last nine games, scored the lone goal for the Coyotes to tie the score at 1 early in the third period. The Red Wings, though, scored four unanswered goals in an 11-minute span to put away the game.

"I think our players themselves are more disappointed than they have been in a long time," Gretzky said. "They are accustomed to winning and playing hard. I don't think it was a lack of effort. We just did not have it.

"We'll regroup, and this team has a lot of heart right now and we're playing hard. We need to re-energize ourself to get ready for Saturday, because we're playing a team that is really (ticked) off at us."

The Coyotes' seven-game win streak began with a 3-2 win at San Jose (29-15-3) on Dec. 28. Two days later in the second game of the home-and-home series, Phoenix beat the Sharks 8-0.

It was the most goals San Jose has given up since allowing nine to Ottawa on Dec. 19, 2002, and the club's worst loss since a 12-2 defeat to Colorado on Dec. 5, 1995.

Jeremy Roenick, who entered the Dec. 30 game with one goal in 31 games, had his first hat trick since Feb. 23, 2001.

Shane Doan had a goal and a season-high four assists in that win over San Jose, and has seven goals and five assists in his last eight games.

Backup goaltender Mikael Tellqvist was in net to take the loss for Phoenix on Thursday, but Curtis Joseph started both games against San Jose during the win streak.

Joseph made a season-high 40 saves in his shutout victory over the Sharks, and has beaten them more times than any other opponent. Joseph is 34-9-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average versus San Jose.

Joseph and the Coyotes lost their first two meetings against the Sharks this season, but are still 8-3-1 against them since the lockout.

The Sharks have won four of five since their last loss to Phoenix, and are coming off a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday.

Patrick Marleau became the franchise's all-time leader in goals with his 207th, eclipsing the record previously held by Owen Nolan, who has 11 goals this season with the Coyotes.

"Those are nice things to have," Marleau said, "but getting better as a team is our main goal right now."

Vesa Toskala made 22 saves on Thursday, and has posted a 1.84 GAA in winning his last four starts after having a 4.04 GAA in losing his previous three.

Although his team has struggled against the Coyotes lately, Toskala is 6-2-1 with a 2.40 GAA in his career against them.

View More