The Sharks (21-13-6, 4th Pacific) return from their relaxing vacation to a lost playoff spot and a visit from the Arizona Coyotes (10-28-6, 8th Pacific). The recent dominance of the Calgary Flames, who've won their last six straight, has hoisted them up into third in the division while the Sharks rested on their laurels, helped in no small part by the latter's unimpressive 1-2-2 road trip. San Jose is now four points out of third in the division and two points back of the Chicago Blackhawks for the Western conference's second wild card spot, but have played four games fewer than both target teams. In fact, at 40 games played, the Sharks are tied with the Boston Bruins for fewest games played to date.
The Coyotes came back from their bye week last night to a drubbing at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers. Despite scoring on two of their first three shots, the Coyotes dropped a 4-2 decision to their cellar mates in the desert. If there's one bright spot in another dismal season for the Yotes, it's rookie Clayton Keller who leads their team in points (33), goals (14), and assists (19), has ten points in his last 11 appearances, and sits third league wide in rookie scoring. His odds of catching Mathew Barzal or Brock Boeser, first and second in said race respectively, are slim, but he represents a glimmer of hope for fans in Glendale.
The rest versus rust debate has been alive and well, and hopefully some time off will help the Sharks prevent recording their longest losing streak of the season tonight. If they can contain Keller and resist the urge to underestimate their opponent, they should be confident in a two point outing against a tired Coyotes squad.
Points: Burns (30) Keller (33)
Timo Meier -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Mikkel Boedker -- Chris Tierney -- Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Brent Burns
Joakim Ryan -- Tim Heed
Scratched: Paul Martin , Jannik Hansen , Joel Ward
Injured: Dylan DeMelo (flu)
DeMelo is the latest casualty to the PDB flu. Maybe he caught it from Martin. Boedker is set to win this round of the coach's shuffle after his first healthy scratch last Sunday in Winnipeg.
Brendan Perlini -- Derek Stepan -- Richard Panik
Christian Fischer -- Max Domi -- Tobias Rieder
Clayton Keller -- Christian Dvorak -- Josh Archibald
Jordan Martinook -- Brad Richardson -- Zac Rinaldo
Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Alex Goligoski
Jakob Chychrun -- Niklas Hjalmarsson
Kevin Connauton -- Jason Demers
Scratched: Freddie Hamilton, Luke Schenn, Nick Cousins
Rinaldo is drawing back into the lineup after serving a six game suspension for sucker punching Colorado's Samuel Girard on 23 December. His skill, discipline, and veteran leadership have been sorely missed. Ahem.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSA, FS-A
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App