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Sharks vs. Coyotes preview: I wish you hadn't said Phoenix

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Prior to a seven-game homestand that closes out their January schedule, the Sharks visit Arizona for the first time this season.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In their final road game of the month, just prior to a seven-game homestand that figures to be a significant factor in whether or not San Jose will make the playoffs this year, the Sharks will travel to Arizona tonight for their first time this season following a 4-3 shootout defeat at home against the Coyotes just prior to Thanksgiving. Arizona has struggled mightily this season, currently sitting 27th in the NHL with 36 points and a minus-39 goal differential. Mike Smith, signed to a long-term contract extension last summer, has been abysmal with a .885 save percentage in 27 starts. The Coyotes also largely lack high-end forward talent in the light of Radim Vrbata's departure to Vancouver. Still, with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle in tow, Arizona's blueline is as good as any in the Pacific and this should be a decent test for a Sharks team looking to gain ground on the Kings and Canucks.

Tale Of The Tape
San Jose Sharks

@

Arizona Coyotes
22-16-5, 49 points
Record 16-21-4, 36 points
4th in Pacific Rank 6th in Pacific
50.4%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 47.5%
98.5
PDO 97.7
20.9
PP% 21.8
80.7
PK% 74.6

6PM PST | Gila River Arena | Glendale, Arizona
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Hockey Wilderness, Hashtag Hockey

Projected Sharks Lineup

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Matt Nieto
Logan Couture - Joe Pavelski - Melker Karlsson
Tomas Hertl - James Sheppard - Tommy Wingels
Tye McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Barclay Goodrow

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun
Scott Hannan - Matt Tennyson

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Coyotes Lineup

Martin Erat - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Lucas Lessio - Sam Gagner - Mikkel Boedker
Tobias Rieder - Kyle Chipchura - Lauri Korpikoski
Brandon McMillan - Joe Vitale - David Moss

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone
Keith Yandle - Chris Summers
Brandon Gormley - Connor Murphy

Devan Dubnyk
Mike Smith

Last Meeting

In a back-and-forth affair, Andrew Desjardins scored his first goal of the season and Tommy Wingels added a shorthanded marker as the Sharks came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits en route to what was ultimately a shootout loss on home ice as Antoine Vermette sealed the game for the Coyotes in the skills competition.

Storylines
  • Devan Dubnyk, who stopped 40 of 43 shots the last time these teams met, will be in net for Arizona.
  • While the Coyotes are 5-5-0 in their last ten games, when they've lost of late they've lost big: Arizona has suffered a 5-1 loss to Ottawa, a 6-0 loss to the Blues, a 6-0 loss to Dallas and a 7-1 loss to Vancouver over that span.
  • Melker Karlsson can break Jeff Friesen's franchise rookie goal-scoring streak record of five games with a goal tonight.