The Arizona Coyotes meet the San Jose Sharks for the third time this season and first time this week. Can the Coyotes attempt to miracle run to the playoffs? Or will the second to last homestand start in 'We Want Auston' chants.
Matchup at a Glance
|Arizona Coyotes||San Jose Sharks|
|Points||67 (4th Pacific)||84 (3rd Pacific)|
|Goals For||2.67 (15th)||2.94 (4th)|
|Goals Against||3.04 (28th)||2.58 (13th)|
|Power Play||18.9% (13th)||22.2% (5th)|
|Penalty Kill||78.4% (26th)||79.5% (23rd)|
|5v5 Corsi For||47.3% (27th)||51.1% (13th)|
|PDO||100.3 (T-12th)||100.4 (T-10th)|
View from Arizona
Things are looking a little brighter for Arizona with the valiant return of Mike Smith against the Oilers. He will be starting versus the Sharks tonight.
The Coyotes offense has woken up a bit and that is mostly thanks to the Anthony Duclair - Antoine Vermette - Alex Tanguay line. They have been putting up points like they've been playing together all season. Hopefully they can keep producing tonight.
Defensively, Kevin Connauton is starting to show what he is really made of. He's had to, given the absence of Oliver Ekman-Larsson. But more generally, Connauton is making his case that he's the two-way 3-4 defenseman that Arizona has been looking for all year long.
View from San Jose
For the Sharks' perspective, be sure to check out Fear The Fin
San Jose is coming off a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins and are trying to catch the Anaheim Ducks and the L.A. Kings in the points race in the knife fight that is the Pacific Division. The Sharks have a killer away record of 25-9-3.
While the Sharks penalty kill isn't very strong, they have one of the most effective power plays in the league. That is why they can stay in any game (having Brent Burns doesn't help either.)
Martin Jones will most likely get the start against the Coyotes, who is 34-18-4 this season.
Keys to the Game
1. STAY OUT OF THE BOX - This is a recorded message. The Sharks have one of the best power plays in the league with some of the best set up guys in the league. Stay out of the box if you want a chance to stay in the game.
2. Don't Push Smith - Don't let Smith push himself too hard and too fast. He had the close call with Adam Cracknell in Edmonton that could have very easily derailed his comeback before it even really began. He is still recovering and let's hope he didn't come back too soon. Keep the crease clean.
3. How're the Kids? - Max Domi and Jordan Martinook have gone pointless the last few games, but they are still setting up important plays. Duclair is riding high on the first line while Domi is on the third line with Brad Richardson and Shane Doan and Martinook is on the revolving door of fourth liners. Get them going and it will make the end of the season go faster.
Players to Watch
For the Coyotes keep an eye on Mike Smith. Let's see if the game against Edmonton was a fluke or if he has actually found his game again. Also watch Kevin Connauton; if Oliver Ekman-Larsson isn't back tonight, he will be playing top pair with Connor Murphy again.
For the Sharks keep an eye on Brent Burns; I mean you can't miss him. He has 13 points in his last 10 games. He is currently leading NHL defenseman in goals with 26. He is a force to be reckoned with on their blue line. Let's keep him off the score sheet shall we?
The Coyotes injury report reads the same as it did versus the Oilers With Joe Vitale and Anders Lindback done for the season, the day-to-day or waiting for return is just Oliver Ekman-Larsson (who is dealing with a Bruised Shoulder,) who may be playing this evening. Hopefully. (Please.)
The Sharks are fairly healthy except for Matt Tennyson, who has been out with an upper body injury since the Ryan Reeves hit February 22nd. Hopefully Tennyson will be able to get back into the line up soon after that terrifying hit.
Tonight's game begins at 7 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or listen on ESPN Phoenix 620 am.