(SportsNetwork.com) – After escaping with a point last time out to begin a
six-game homestand, the San Jose Sharks will try to reach the win column on
Saturday night as they take on the Arizona Coyotes.
The Sharks returned home following an 11-day, 3-4-0 road trip to host the
Florida Panthers and dropped a 3-2 decision in a shootout. However, San Jose
was lucky to get it that far as it didn’t tie the game until Patrick Marleau
scored with 33.1 seconds left in regulation and goaltender Antti Niemi pulled
for an extra attacker.
Marleau got some redemption for having failed to convert on a penalty shot
chance early in the third period and also added an assist while playing in his
400th straight game.
Logan Couture scored a power-play goal, while Niemi stopped 26-of-28 shots for
the Sharks. Joe Thornton had an assist to stretch his point streak to eight
straight games, with four goals and five helpers on the run.
“The point is great but we’re not happy where our game’s at,” said forward
Tommy Wingels. “We’re a better team than we showed.”
The Sharks have shown themselves to be a good team when facing the Coyotes.
They are 6-1-2 in the past nine meetings overall and have claimed 10 of the
last 13 played at home.
Niemi is 12-4-3 in his career when facing the Coyotes, posting a 2.06 goals
against average, .931 save percentage and three shutouts.
The Coyotes will play the middle portion of a three-game road trip, kicking
off the swing with Thursday’s 3-1 setback in Dallas.
Lauri Korpikoski scored a power-play goal in the first period, but the Stars
scored twice in the first minute of the third frame to go ahead for good and
added another late tally in the period.
Mike Smith made 24 saves in defeat, a second straight for Arizona and fifth in
seven games, while Sam Gagner picked up the 200th assist of his career.
“You got to play 60 minutes, not 40 minutes to win in this league,” said
Arizona coach Dave Tippett. “Third period wasn’t good enough.”
The Coyotes conclude their road trip on Sunday versus Anaheim so it is unknown
if Smith or backup Devan Dubnyk will start. Smith is a solid 8-4-2 lifetime
versus the Sharks with a 2.12 GAA, .944 save percentage and four shutouts,
while Dubnyk is 4-6-2 with a 3.10 GAA and .910 save percentage in 12 meetings.