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Sharks set to face Coyotes in home opener

by Brian Compton /

COYOTES (1-2-0) at SHARKS (2-0-0)


Season series: This is the first of five meetings between the teams. The Coyotes went 4-1-1 against the Sharks in 2011-12.

Big story: The Sharks could have a new face in their lineup, as the club signed veteran forward Scott Gomez to a one-year contract Wednesday. Gomez had the final two years of his contract bought out by the Montreal Canadiens prior to the start of the season and became an unrestricted free agent.

"Everyone who plays in the NHL, you challenge yourself every day and you want to prove that you can contribute," Gomez told the Mercury News on Wednesday. "But the main things is I want to come here, I want to help out and I want to win another Stanley Cup."

Team scope:

Coyotes: Phoenix brings some momentum to San Jose after earning an impressive win on home ice Wednesday night. Veteran winger Steve Sullivan notched a hat trick and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored twice and added an assist as the Coyotes cruised to a 5-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It was a nice turnaround for Phoenix, which opened the season with back-to-back losses against Dallas and Chicago.

"We played more committed with the puck,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “We weren't trying to make a fancy play every time we touched the puck."

Sharks: San Jose has stormed out of the gate with back-to-back victories on the road, including Tuesday’s 6-3 win at Edmonton. All six of the Sharks’ goals against the Oilers came in the opening period, as they held a 6-1 lead after 20 minutes, chasing Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk.

“We kind of let up in the second and third [periods], but we built ourselves a good enough lead,” Sharks forward Logan Couture said.

Who’s hot: Besides Sullivan and Ekman-Larsson, four other Coyotes also have three points through the club’s first three games – Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker are the others. … Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau each have five points through San Jose’s first two games.

Injury report: Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith was forced to leave early in Wednesday’s game due to a lower-body injury. The Coyotes termed the injury minor and said after the game that Smith will make the trip to San Jose. He's listed as day-to-day, but the Coyotes will bring up Chad Johnson from Portland of the AHL as an emergency call-up. Coyotes center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Rostislav Klesla both missed Wednesday's game with lower-body injuries. … To make room for Gomez on the roster, the Sharks placed defenseman Brent Burns (lower body) on the injured reserve list Wednesday. Forward Jason Demers is out with a wrist injury.

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