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Coyotes Game 27 Preview: Coyotes back on the road to face the Sharks

The Arizona Coyotes are heading back on the road for one game to face to the San Jose Sharks.

San Jose Sharks v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Game Preview

After two games at home, the Arizona Coyotes are back on the road. The Coyotes beat the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers in their two-game homestand.

The question is will that success follow them on the road? The Coyotes weren’t home for long, but it may have been long enough to sort out some of their issues.

The two wins provide some hope of competitive hockey, with the usual mix of concerns. Arizona started scoring with a power play, with Clayton Keller getting his first of the night. The Coyotes also did a great job limiting their penalties and were only short-handed twice.

Penalties and problems with the power play have been major issues for the Coyotes all season long, especially recently. But that is just one game, and it will be up to them to do it against the San Jose Sharks.

If the Coyotes found success against the Flyers because they played against a weaker team, then tonight may be their night. The Sharks are second to last in the Pacific Division with only 23 points in 30 games. Putting that in perspective, the Coyotes have 22 points in 26 games.

The Sharks also won against a weaker opponent in their last game, beating the Anaheim Ducks 6-1. Before that, they lost 6-5 to the Canucks in overtime.

As those two games show, the Sharks can score goals. Admittedly, they aren’t one of the top offensive teams in the league, more in the middle, but they are better than the bottom-feeding Coyotes.

San Jose has two players with 14 goals, and they are both familiar. Timo Meier and Logan Couture were both drafted by the Sharks and are having good seasons. Also at the top of the stats sheet is Tomáš Hertl, who is second on the team with 29 points (9 goals, 20 assists).

Unfortunately for the Sharks, they are giving up a lot of goals. James Reimer and Kaapo Kahkonen have been splitting the games pretty evenly, 15 starts for Reimer and 12 for Kahkonen, and neither has been especially good. Both have goals-against averages over 3.00, and neither has an impressive save percentage.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller notched his first career hat trick in his last game and has points in his past two. Keller has been a big part of the Coyotes’ offense all season, and hopefully, he will continue to play his best.

San Jose: Erik Karlsson - After four seasons in San Jose, Karlsson has been phenomenal this season. He has 12 goals and 25 assists in 30 games and leads all NHL defensemen with 37 points.

Injuries

Arizona: Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee)

San Jose: Logan Couture (probable, lower body), Alexander Barabanov (questionable, lower body), Matt Nieto (undisclosed), Mario Ferraro (undisclosed), James Reimer (questionable, lower body), Markus Nutivaara (lower body)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game will be at 8:30 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona Extra and ESPN 620AM.