Following a 3-game losing streak the San Jose Sharks (7-2-1) got some much needed rest. Three days to be exact. Now they look to rebound against the Phoenix Coyotes (4-5-2) at the Shark Tank.
Both teams’ most recent losses are the the Chicago Blackhawks with the Sharks losing 5-3 on Tuesday and the Coyotes losing 6-2 in Thursday.
San Jose has lost three in a row since starting with seven-straight wins and is looking to get back on the right track. Their three days of rest will be a major help for a team today for a team that had just played three games in four nights.
For the Coyotes, their 6-2 lost against the Blackhawks was their first loss after winning two-straight at home. Overall, however, they have have lost three of their last five and are in fourth place in the Pacific Division.
San Jose is tied for first with the Anaheim Ducks at 15 points.
Leading the Coyotes this season point-wise is right-winger Radim Vrbata who has 11 point so far, including a team-leading eight assists. Martin Hanzal leads the team with five goals and has seven total points.
Phoenix also has as couple of offensively dangerous defensemen to look out for in Oliver-Ekman Larsson and Keith Yandle, with Larsson having two goals and five assists while Yandle has one goal and five assists.
The San Jose Sharks looked really good at times against the Blackhawks, but unfortunately a bad penalty call coupled with a goal immediately after it killed any momentum San Jose might have gained from what should have been a lengthy power play. Still, a strong first period was all the Sharks could muster agianst Chicago and in the end it was not enough.
What to Watch For
The Sharks have been dealing with a lot of mixing and matching of lines by Todd McClellan so it will be interesting once again to see what he comes up with. The strongest line by FAR in that Chicago game was the third line of Tommy Wingels, Michal Handzus, and James Sheppard, and I hope he keeps this line together.
At some point too though McClellan is going to have to stick to some sort of line combinations in order to add some kind of continuity so the guys can develop some chemistry with their linemates.
Going from red-hot to ice-cold is Patrick Marleau who has not recorded a point in four-straight games and has gone -3 in that time frame. He has always had a history of being a very streaky shooter though so this may not be too much of a surprise.
Just as ice-cold is Joe Thornton who also has the same four-game pointless-streak. For a Sharks team looking to break a losing streak they are going to need production from their top two players to get out of this slump.