Season series: This is the second of five meetings. On Jan. 24, the Coyotes led 3-1 in the third period, but the Sharks tied the score before Patrick Marleau scored with 1:53 remaining to take a 4-3 lead in their 5-3 victory. It was Marleau's third straight multigoal game to open the season.
"We had the game under control and we just gave it away," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said then.
Big story: Each team is coming off a discouraging loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks led 2-0 but lost 5-3 to the Western Conference leaders at home on Tuesday, their third straight defeat after opening with a seven-game win streak.
The Coyotes' loss to the Blackhawks on Thursday was particularly disheartening - playing at home after two straight wins, they fell behind 4-0 in the first period on the way to a 6-2 drubbing.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett, who will coach his 750th game as an NHL head coach today, is looking for a much better effort vs. the Sharks, especially from the team's leaders.
"Your best players have to have an impact on the game in a positive way,” Tippett said. “It might not be scoring every night, but they have to have the impact that we rely on them to have. If your goaltender needs to be solid for you, he needs to be solid. Your captain and your assistant captain can’t be taking yapping penalties. Your team game has to be solid. We’re not asking anybody to do anything superhuman. We’re asking them to do their part and when your top players don’t do that, it makes it a lot harder to win.”
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Coyotes: In four wins, Phoenix has allowed two goals total. In seven losses, it has allowed 31. The Coyotes gave nine power plays to the Blackhawks, who cashed in twice on 5-on-3s in the first period.
Goalie Mike Smith, who has made four straight starts since coming back from a groin injury, was pulled Thursday. He has a goals-against average of 3.63 and a save percentage of .863. Last season, those numbers were 2.21 and .930.
The Coyotes are an impressive 72-38-16 on the road in three-plus seasons under Tippett, but are 0-2-1 away from Glendale so far this season.
Tippett is hoping a three-game trip that starts in San Jose will trigger a hot streak.
"I think it'll be great for us to get on the road," Tippett said. "You go on the road and you play a simple, strong game. Just stay out of the penalty box and you have a good chance of winning."
Sharks: The team welcomed a three-day break that let them practice on the ice what they had only been able to address by video.
San Jose is hopeful the work will revive its power play, which is 1-for-21 after starting the season 12-for-32.
"Early on, the power play was going, now it's kind of a little bit stale," captain Joe Thornton said Thursday after a 75-minute practice. "We were working on that. That'll get us going again."
Thornton had 14 points in the first six games but has none in the past four; same for Marleau.
Injury report: The Coyotes have been without defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body) but he is close to returning. Center Matthew Lombardi (upper body) and defenseman David Schlemko (upper body) are still at least a couple of weeks from playing again. … San Jose is without defenseman Brent Burns (lower body), though he could return as early as Saturday. Center Andrew Desjardins missed Friday's practice due to illness.