Sharks Aim For Fourth Straight: Game Preview


February 09, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center James Sheppard (15) tries to score against Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) during the overtime shootout at HP Pavilion. Phoenix won 1-0 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks (16-11-6) take on the Phoenix Coyotes (14-15-5) in game three of their seven-game home stand.

The Sharks have started off that home stand strong so far with a 2-0 record by defeating the Ducks and the Red Wings and will be looking for win number three tonight.  They are definitely on an upward swing at the moment and have won four of their last five games although they are just 5-4-1 in their last ten games.  Still, they seem to be coming together at the right time.

The Coyotes are coming off of a 7-4 shellacking of the Nashville Predators on Thursday where they got off to an incredible start and scored six goals in the first period.  They forced Nashville to pull the starting goaltender, put in his backup, then forced him out of the game and they had to put their starter back in because the backup was not doing his job.  It was a tremendous display off offense.

In the larger scheme of things, however, that was Phoenix’s first win in eight games with their last win coming against the L.A. Kings on March 12th.  Over that seven-game losing streak they managed to be shut out in three consecutive game sand overall scored a total of eight goals; just as many as they scored last game (seven).

Leading the way for Phoenix are a couple of guys with 20 points including winger Mikkel Boedker and captain Shane Doan.  Boedker has six goals and 14 assists while Doan has a team leading 11 goals on the season.  Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is hot on their heels with 19 total points including a team-leading 16 assists.

For the Sharks, Joe Pavelski is heating up and has scored a goal in three straight games and has four points total in that span.  It was only a matter of time before he started racking up the points considering he has been a workhorse all over the ice and especially in front of the net creating screens and deflections.  Glad to see his hard work is paying off.

Also, his last goal put his at 10 for the season making him the third guy on the team (behind Marleau and Couture) to his the double-digit goal mark.  Thornton, Burns and Irwin are all tied for the next highest total at five goals.

Brent Burns also continued his great play as a forward scoring his fifth goal of the season on Thursday.  The goal gave him 10th point in just his ninth game as a forward.  Also of note, according to Sharks’ beat writer David Pollak, Burns will play on the blue line tonight due to an injury to Jason Demers.  What will be interesting to see as well is who gets back into the game tonight for the Sharks from the box.

It will be yet another tough game for San Jose but the fact that the game is at home gives them a huge advantage.  They have only one, yes one, regulation loss all season at the ‘Shark Tank’ with a 10-1-4 record.  Here’s to hoping that first column moves to 11.