Sharks Face the Coyotes In The Desert: Game Preview


Mar 30, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) trips over Phoenix Coyotes center Matthew Lombardi (8) during the third period at the HP Pavilion. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks (21-13-7) take on the Phoenix Coyotes (18-16-7) in the final game of their four-game road-trip.  Immediately following the game San Jose will probably head home and prepare for a home game tomorrow night against the L.A. Kings.

In the last matchup between these two teams at the end of March the Sharks defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout.  That win was during San Jose’s great home stand where they earned 13 out of a possible 14 points.  However, they have lost three of their last four since then and are barely hanging on to the fifth position in the conference.

The Coyotes are coming off of an overtime loss the Calgary Flames and have gone win-loss-win-overtime loss in their last four which does help their case for the playoffs.  Right now they are in 11th and are four points out of a playoff spot with seven games to play.  An uphill battle for sure, but still possible. They will being playing a desparate brand of hockey tonight, something which should be taken into consideration tonight.

Phoenix is led by winger Mikkel Boedker who has a team-leading 18 assists to go along with seven goals.  His 25 points is the team-high, one above Shane Doan and Keith Yandle who have 24 points.  Shane Doan has a team-leading 13 goals and 11 assists while defenseman Yandle has nine goals and 15 points.

San Jose has hit a bit of a rough patch on this road trip but could turn it around with a win tonight.  Scoring continues to be a problem with them having only scored four goals in their last three games.  They are a completely different team away from home and will need to find some sort of remedy to their road woes seeing as there is a higher chance of them being one of the lower seeds in the playoffs.  If they do not figure it out it could be an early exit from the playoffs.

What To Watch For

We have officially entered that time of the season where teams are either playing spoilers or scoreboard watching.  A whole slew of games will be played tonight, many of which have huge playoff implications.  So, tonight we’ll be keeping an eye on the scoreboard for those other games going on.  THe key matchups tonight are the Wild vs Flames, Blue Jackets vs Avalanche and Dallas vs Chicago.

Do not forget this game also includes two teams fighting for the playoffs.  In fact, a Minnesota win and San Jose loss tonight would put the Wild in the fifth spot and drop the Sharks to sixth so gaining at least a point tonight would be crucial.