Coyotes continue chase of Pacific-leading Sharks
Monday, 12.28.2009 / 4:30 PMCOYOTES (24-13-2) AT SHARKS (23-8-7)
Last 10 --
Phoenix 7-2-1; San Jose 5-2-3
Season series --
This is the third of six meetings between the Pacific Division rivals. Phoenix won the previous two contests: 1-0 on Oct. 12 at San Jose and 2-1 on Dec. 12 at home in Glendale, AZ.
Big story --
The Coyotes and Sharks have been two of the hottest teams in the Western Conference recently, with Phoenix riding a three-game winning streak and San Jose having won four straight. Phoenix will also try to win its third straight at HP Pavilion, dating back to April 2009.
Phoenix has been absolutely fantastic at Jobing.com Arena this season as its 3-2 win over Los Angeles on Saturday tied a franchise record for the most consecutive wins at home with nine. The impressive feat is actually the Coyotes' longest home winning streak while in Phoenix, and ties the longest streak of their predecessor, the Winnipeg Jets, set during the 1992-93 season.
The Coyotes have now won five of their last six contests and will try to inch closer to claiming first place in the Pacific Division for the season. If Phoenix ends this campaign atop its division, it will mark the only time it has done that in franchise history, which began in 2000-01.
It's been business as usual in San Jose with the Sharks once again residing near the top of the Western Conference standings. They are aiming to extend their winning streak to five games, with their most recent loss coming at the hands of Monday's Coyotes opponent on Dec. 12 in Glendale.
The Sharks easily handled the Ducks, 5-2, in their most recent match on Saturday, with center Patrick Marleau
scoring the 300th and 301st goals of his career to seal it for San Jose.
Who's hot --
Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has won three straight with a 1.33 goals against average over that span. The NHL’s leading scorer, Joe Thornton
, has now tallied points in 17 of his last 18 games for the Sharks, including three assists on Saturday.
Injury report --
Kurt Sauer has been on injured reserve for Phoenix since right after the first game of the season on Oct. 3. The Sharks will be without Brad Staubitz (face) and Jody Shelley (hand).
Stat pack --
The Coyotes are second in the Western Conference with 2.20 goals against per game. The Sharks lead the Western Conference with 3.26 goals per game.
Puck drop --
"It was not only sweet to win, but we know where (the Kings are) at and they know where we are and it's close. Every single came counts so much and we've got to find ways to keep winning."– Coyotes captain Shane Doan after Saturday’s win over the Pacific Division’s Los Angeles Kings.