Head Coach Todd McLellan said at this morning’s skate that defenseman Douglas Murray
could be back in the lineup for tonight’s game against Phoenix.
"Should be ready to go," McLellan said. "It will be something I address with him and the training staff after the morning skate. We expect him to play."
THE GOALTENDER GUESSING GAMEAntti Niemi
was the first goaltender off the ice, the usual sign indicating the starting goalie for each contest.
FOUR IN A ROW?
The Sharks are hunting for their first four-game winning streak of the year, but will have to go through a hungry Coyotes club to pull it off.
The two clubs, along with Anaheim, sit two points behind the Dallas Stars in the Pacific Division race and the winner can grab a share of the lead.
“The message doesn’t change,” McLellan said. “The win is very important to our hockey club with the way the standings are and the way we want to go into the Christmas break. It’s a game we have to show up and compete extremely hard. To get four in the bank going into the break would be a pretty good accomplishment for our team.”
A scheduling quirk has San Jose playing Phoenix for the first time this season…in late December! And the Sharks know how tough it is to play the Coyotes.
“It’s going to be a compressed schedule with Phoenix,” McLellan said. “(Last year) four of them went to shootouts. Every other game was decided by one goal and I don’t see any reason why that would change this year. Our players have to understand that. At any point the game can change for or against you if you’re not prepared to play every minute properly.”
Part of the reason McLellan expects more of the same from Phoenix is because of the game plan Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett will probably employ.
“They’re very well coached,” McLellan said. “Tip has them prepared. We can expect their ‘A’ game tonight. They’ll play a smart game, a controlled game. There won’t be many surprises with how they play.”
Tickets for tonight’s Phoenix game can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.