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Coyotes at Sharks Preview: Fresh legs and a needed win

Coming off a week-long break against one of the worst teams in the NHL. What could go wrong?

San Jose Sharks v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Long time no preview, guys! That bye week felt like a whole decade. It didn’t help that the Sharks left us on a sour note, only taking away four points of a possible eight since the new year. Thankfully, the Sharks are back tonight and it’s against a division rival who is not very good. Here’s to being hopeful!

The Sharks return home tonight after a challenging road trip. After being shut out by the Dallas Stars, they headed to the Great North and played a hard-fought four games against the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, and Winnipeg Jets. I’m not going to make you relive those games, I’ll just remind you that they’re coming home with a 1-2-2 record.

Thanks to the NHL’s mandated bye week policy, the boys in teal got some much-needed rest after a road trip that included below zero temperatures and a back-to-back. Some of the boys stayed home to rest, while we got to see Logan Couture’s yearly Hawaii Instagram updates. A fresh set of legs against a division rival? Sounds good to me.

Oh, Arizona, what are you going through? Currently sitting last in the Pacific division, they have a 10-27-6 record this season. Arizona started out the season with an 11-game losing streak, being the first team in the NHL to ever go 20 games without winning in regulation. It’s been a tough one for the Desert Dogs.

It hasn’t been all bad for Arizona, though. Wins in regulation have been few and far between, but they have been able to come out victorious against some of the league’s best teams in OT. They recently won in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Nashville Predators. They also recently made a change in their roster, trading forward Anthony Duclair and defenseman Adam Clendening to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Richard Panik and prospect Laurent Dauphin. It will be interesting to see what this change will bring to the team.

Though this may seem like an easy win for the Sharks, they occasionally stumble against the Coyotes. They fell short to the Desert Dogs four times last season. Arizona is the new home of our old friend Jason Demers, and he will be one to watch tonight — though maybe only for his antics with his former teammates. The former San Jose blueliner is currently scoring at the lowest rate of his career since the 2012-13 season. Clayton Keller leads Arizona with 32 points in 43 games played. Netminder Antti Raanta will probably be in net, coming in with a .917 save percentage in 22 games played. The Sharks should be able to produce offensively tonight. At least we’ll hope so.

How will the Coyotes’ roster change affect the game tonight?

Clearly, the transaction made by Arizona was in hopes of waking up the struggling team. This will be Richard Panik’s second game with his new club. This season, Panik has played in 37 games with Chicago, producing 16 points, six of those being goals. It will be interesting to see if a new member up front will give Arizona the offensive boost they have been unable to master this season.

Fresh legs = new start?

The last week of hockey for the Sharks was not easy. They played well-fought games, but the road trip was pretty challenging. They were in desperate need of some rest. I think the odds are in their favor when it comes to the results of a break. I’m fairly confident that some R&R was all the Sharks needed to get their groove back. There is always that anxiety in the back of my mind making me wonder if the Sharks will come back rusty. I’m feeling good about this though, how about you?

Can the Sharks score some goals against a fairly weak team?

I think the answer to this question is a good one. The Sharks managed to produce offensively in Canada last week, especially against four decently offensive teams. Forwards like Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Timo Meier, and Chris Tierney looked good as gold on the road trip. I think the homecoming tonight will be a goal-filled one.

Bold prediction: The Sharks will land five pucks in the net tonight. It’s Golden State Warriors night at the Tank, I think those gold and blue warm-up jerseys will give the Sharks some of that Splash Bros magic.

Going to the game tonight? Don’t forget to grab your Golden State Warriors mashup jersey upon entrance! We’ll have some Golden State-inspired work of our own here throughout the day.

Be sure to check back later for projected lines and more in our game thread! If you have a bold prediction make sure you let us know!