SHARKS (39-28-10) at COYOTES (37-27-13)
TV: NHLN-CA, CSN-CA (HD), FS-A (HD)
: San Jose 6-3-1; Phoenix 4-2-4
: This is the sixth and final meeting between these Pacific Division rivals. Phoenix is 3-1-1 against San Jose and most recently handed the Sharks a 3-0 loss on March 10 at Jobing.com Arena.
: The Sharks and Coyotes are two of four teams in a fierce battle for not only a playoff spot, but a division crown. Entering Thursday's action, first and fourth place in the Pacific are separated by just two points.
: San Jose let two valuable points slip away Wednesday night, as it suffered a 3-1 loss at Anaheim. The game was tied after 40 minutes, but the Ducks pulled away in the third on goals by Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry. The Sharks lost five times in regulation against Anaheim this season.
"It's probably their depth up front," Sharks captain Joe Thornton
said. "They're a four-line team. That's probably been our Achilles heel. We haven't been able to match a four-line game with them. We played solid, but I would have liked to see us finish a couple more chances."
: Phoenix was idle Wednesday but dropped out of the top eight thanks to victories by both Dallas and Los Angeles. The Coyotes enter Thursday's action one point behind the Sharks, with both teams having five games remaining in the regular season. Phoenix opened a four-game homestand in disappointing fashion Tuesday night in a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
"It's tough to get a chance against (St. Louis)," Coyotes forward Lauri Korpokoski said. "They play a really tight game. I had a pretty good chance in the third (period) and you've got to score on those if you want to turn the game around."
: Ryane Clowe
has goals in back-to-back games for San Jose.
: Radim Vrbata
(lower body), Taylor Pyatt
(upper body) and Adrian Aucoin
(lower body) are all day-to-day for Phoenix.
: Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris
appeared in his 1,000th NHL game Tuesday night, becoming the 277th player to reach the milestone.
: "We have a lot to lose and it doesn't matter if they have everything to lose or nothing to lose. We should win that game. It's disappointing. This doesn't hurt our chances. We're still coming. We got five games coming and the next game's going to be big. We got to win. It's a setback, but we want to take a step forward and get where we were. We got to keep moving forward and we missed a chance." -- Sharks center Joe Pavelski after Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Anaheim