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San Jose Sharks @ Arizona Coyotes Preview: Down in the Desert

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The million dollar question for tonight's game: Jonesy or Optimus Reim?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off two huge home wins against the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins, confidence has to be pretty high right now in the Sharks' locker room. With just 13 games remaining on the regular season schedule, San Jose has every opportunity to gain some ground in the Pacific Division and maybe, just maybe, win it.

Tonight's game against the Arizona Coyotes has all the makings of a "trap" game: The Sharks are coming off back-to-back wins against two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and have another game at home on Saturday against the New York Rangers, but first they have to take care of business against the Desert Dogs. The 'Yotes were in the mix for a playoff spot just a few months ago, but their true colors have shown since and will now be watching the playoffs from home come mid-April. This time, however, the Sharks will be going against Louis Domingue Mike Smith, who is back in net after being sidelined with a core muscle injury that required surgery almost three months ago. Smith stopped all 44 shots that he faced against Edmonton on Saturday in Arizona's 4-0 win.

Tale Of The Tape
San Jose Sharks

@

39-24-6 Record 30-32-7
3rd in Pacific Rank 4th in Pacific
52.8
Score-Adj. Fenwick 46.6
100.3
PDO 100.5
22.2
PP% 18.9
79.5
PK%

78.4

7PM PDT | Gila River Arena | Glendale, Arizona

TV: CSN-CA, FS-A+| Radio: SJSharks.com98.5 KFOX

Know Your Enemy: Five For Howling

Last Meeting

Matt Tennyson and Chris Tierney scored two first period goals and the Sharks never looked back, defeating the Coyotes 4-1. Brent Burns and Melker Karlsson added two assists each while Martin Jones stopped 22 out of 23 shots he faced. Martin Hanzal scored the lone goal for Arizona mid-way through the second period.

Storylines:

  • No confirmation was given Wednesday by Peter DeBoer on if Martin Jones or James Reimer will start. With Reimer's familiarity with the Eastern Conference, I'd expect Jones to start with Reimer going on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers.
  • Brent Burns needs just one more goal and point to set the single-season franchise record for goals and points by a defenseman. He's currently tied with Sandis Ozolinsh, who scored 26 goals and recorded 64 points in the 1993-1994 season.
  • Arizona is coming off four days of rest, last playing in Edmonton Saturday night. Will that many days off positively or negatively affect their performance against San Jose?