Sharks vs. Coyotes: Once more, with feeling

Two teams with nothing to play for are contractually obligated to play hockey in Glendale tonight.

The San Jose Sharks will play the Los Angeles Kings in a seven-game series starting next week, but first they have to play the Phoenix Coyotes. Had the Dallas Stars lost last night this game would be quite a bit more interesting as it would give the Coyotes something to play for. But Dallas won last night, clinching themselves a playoff berth and sending the Coyotes on an early summer break.

Yesterday's game had the excitement of Hertl's return going for it, but tonight I think I speak for most Sharks fans when I say the message for this game should be "please god don't get injured." Antti Niemi will get one more shot to prove he deserves the starting nod against Los Angeles and Hertl will get another game of tuneup before the playoffs begin.

Raffi Torres is likely to return for the playoffs but will not play tonight. Matt Nieto is also still in southern California with his family. Other than that, we'll be seeing much the same lineup that we saw take on the Avalanche last night. Rookie goaltender Mark Visentin gets the nod for the Coyotes, so don't expect the Sharks to score any goals tonight.

One more game until the season that matters begins. Go Sharks.

San Jose Sharks


50-22-9, 109 points
36-29-15, 87 points
2nd in Pacific
4th in Pacific

7:30PM PST | Arena | Glendale, Arizona
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio:, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Five For Howling

Projected Sharks Lineup

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Marty Havlat
Tomas Hertl - James Sheppard - Tommy Wingels
Bracken Kearns - Andrew Desjardins - Tyler Kennedy

Brad Stuart - Justin Braun
Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle
Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Coyotes Lineup

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Martin Erat - Kyle Chipchura - Radim Vrbata
Brandon McMillan - Mike Ribeiro - David Moss
Rob Klinkhammer - Jeff Halpern - Lauri Korpikoski

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zybnek Michalek
Keith Yandle - Michael Stone
Chris Summers - Derek Morris

Mark Visentin
Thomas Greiss