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Sharks at Coyotes Preview: Quick road trip with the Desert Dogs

No Aaron Dell tonight.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at San Jose Sharks Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes are a very, very bad hockey team. They are 29th in the NHL in possession (Fenwick in this case), 29th in power play and 26th in penalty kill percentage. They have just two wins and frankly it’s a miracle they have that many given how absolutely horrific this team is.

If there’s good news for the Coyotes it’s the sweet, sweet draft pick waiting next June. Arizona had a brilliant draft this past summer, but didn’t quite get a high enough draft pick to boost them from the Pacific Division cellar (hell, even that’s no guarantee). So it will be another long season in Glendale, but there’s reason to hope for the future.

For the Sharks, and their fans, there’s reason to worry about a trap game. A one-game road trip feels like a game San Jose has absolutely blown in the past. Of course even if they do we won’t need to cancel the season quite yet, but composure against weaker teams is one thing that impressed me about the Sharks last season. We’ll see if it continues tonight.

As for other lineup decisions, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt Nieto get back in the lineup after sitting the last three games. Head coach Peter DeBoer wants to cycle guys into the lineup and this seems like a good chance to give Micheal Haley a day off and get Nieto a game to keep his legs fresh.

For that matter, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dylan DeMelo finally get a little bit of action tonight. Mum has been the word about the young defender this season and if they do intend to trade him (or even if they want to keep him as insurance) he needs to get a bit of action to stay fresh.

If you’re looking for something interesting or exciting about the Arizona Coyotes, look no further than Max Domi. The young forward has six points in eight games and provides a fun element to a team that desperately needs something positive. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Shane Doan are still kicking around and, yes, Mike Smith is on the active roster. I know, I’m scared too.

Go Sharks.

Game 1
Saturday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m. PT
Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona, USA
Get the Arizona perspective at Five For Howling
How to Watch / Listen In San Jose
Stream on NBC Live Extra
Stats and Figures
6-3-0 Record 2-6-0
2nd in Pacific Standings 7th in Pacific
55.89% Even Strength, Score-Adj. Fenwick 44.69%
97.46 PDO 99.94
24.12 PP% 10.71
84.62 PK% 72.41