San Jose Sharks Visit Phoenix Coyotes For First Time This Year

Referee Dan O'Halloran being awful at his job - Coyotes are due some lovin' tonight from the zebras after the Ducks fiasco. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


It's not often that a division rival doesn't make the trip out to Glendale until after the All Star Break, but that has been the case for the San Jose Sharks this year as they will come out to the desert for the first time tonight to play the Phoenix Coyotes. The Sharks and Coyotes split the two matchups earlier this year in San Jose with each team taking a 3-goal win, Coyotes with the shutout in the most recent game on November 12.

Of course, that game predated the "dark ages" of the Coyotes season, namely everything that happened after the Kyle Turris drama unfolded. Now, with just 31 games left in the season, the Desert Dogs are in "put up or shut up" mode with little room to drop any points, let alone to a Western Conference foe...even if that foe is almost assuredly not going to be competing for the 8th playoff position, but rather challenging for yet another meaningless Western Conference and Pacific Division crown.

Five For Winning

1. Stay Disciplined. After the game against the Ducks, the Coyotes are due some love from the referees. Let's see if they can actually take advantage of that by getting a number of power play opportunities.

2. Cash in on the Man Advantage. Getting the power plays will be a bit meaningless unless they can convert. Considering that one of San Jose's few weaknesses is their 28th ranked penalty kill, this could be essential for a Coyotes victory.

3. Stop the Easy Ones. Mike Smith is having a rough go of things recently, but it's not the plays that you expect to give him difficulty that are - it's fairly routine shots and plays where he is getting himself out of position. The Coyotes need him to play like a world beater for a few weeks.

4. Where's the D? The problems in their own zone have been troublesome, but the Coyotes also need to see their defensemen jumping into plays and lighting the lamp a bit. Since David Schlemko went down, it seems that this is not happening too often. I can't even remember the last time Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a goal.

5. Play like it's April. The Coyotes need to play with the mentality that it's win or go home, and the Sharks are a terrible playoff team...so let's combine these two things and create a hard fought playoff-style victory for the 'yotes.

Key Players


Mikkel Boedker

#89 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

5-11

195

Dec 16, 1989



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2011 - Mikkel Boedker 51 7 9 16 -3 6 0 0 1 53


With all of his speed, he creates havoc for opposing defenses. His finishing continues to need a bit of work, but he's a guy that can get hot down the stretch and really get this team going in the right direction. Tonight would be a great night to start.


Logan Couture

#39 / Center / San Jose Sharks

6-1

195

Mar 28, 1989



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2011 - Logan Couture 49 21 19 40 10 10 5 2 3 147


All Star, five game point streak, leading the Sharks in goals scored. Yeah, stop this guy tonight, ok.

Likely Starters in Net


Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-4

215

Mar 22, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Mike Smith 39 2244 18 14 93 2.49 1170 1077 .921 2


Thomas Greiss

#1 / Goalie / San Jose Sharks

6-1

210

Jan 29, 1986



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Thomas Greiss 12 727 7 4 24 1.98 322 298 .925 0


Injuries


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Derek Morris other-excused 02/04/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Schlemko foot 01/08/2012


San Jose Sharks Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Antti Niemi undisclosed 02/04/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jason Demers charley-horse 01/25/2012
Martin Havlat hamstring 12/18/2011
Tommy Wingels other-excused 01/20/2012


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