A lot can happen in thirty two games. Despite dealing with some serious injuries the Coyotes are only two points out of a playoff spot in an extremely weak Western Conference. The final stretch of the season isn’t going to be easy, but before the break the Coyotes managed to string together some impressive wins. If they are able to keep it up they may find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Injuries to the Coyotes have given opportunities for other players to step up. The biggest story is Conor Garland, who came up for the Tucson Roadrunners and has scored nine goals in 23 games. Arizona will be looking for that to happen again with newly recalled Kyle Capobianco, who may see NHL ice for the first time this season. Capobianco has played well in Tucson this season, and he could be the latest player to seize the opportunity that injuries present.
San Jose is coming off a big weekend hosting the All Star event. San Jose went big during the offseason and its expected that they go far in the post season. They are currently second in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference so it seems like they are on pace to meet those high expectations.
The week going into the All Star Break wasn’t the best for San Jose. They had a 2-3-0 record which included a 6-3 loss to the Coyotes. The two wins came against playoff bound teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, and one of the losses came against the Tampa Bay Lightning so its not terrible. But if the Coyotes found a way to solve the Sharks once they can hopefully do it again.
Its tough to feel bad for another team dealing with injuries but the Sharks have two big ones. Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are key pieces for San Jose’s defense and may miss tonight’s game. San Jose allows a lot of goals (164, 23rd in the league), so any changes could benefit the Coyotes.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller has been hot and cold this season, but going into the All Star Break. The Coyotes lone All Star representative had four points in the past five games, including an assist against the Sharks.
San Jose: Tomas Hertl - Hertl had a four point night in the Sharks last game against the Washington Capitals, including a hat trick. With 22 goals he has matched his previous high.
Arizona: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (questionable, lower body), Brad Richardson (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Antti Raanta (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
San Jose: Erik Karlsson (questionable, undisclosed), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (probable, wrist)
Last time Arizona and San Jose met Arizona scored six goals. Can they match that tonight?
This poll is closed
Make sure to come back later for today’s game thread. Which you can find down below!