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Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Coyotes-Sharks Preview
Phoenix Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks
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By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to climb closer to the top of the Pacific Division standings tonight when they play the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavilion. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m. (Arizona time).

San Jose leads the division with 53 points, and Phoenix is in second place with 50. Granted it’s just December, but the Coyotes are fired up for this showdown.

“They are the only team in our division above us right now and we know that,” Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. “We’re just a few points behind them, so for us it’s probably the biggest game of the year.”

Phoenix (24-13-2) has won nine games in a row at home but is just 3-4-2 in its past nine road games.

The Coyotes will be playing minus forward Daniel Winnik, a key penalty killer who suffered an upper-body injury on Saturday vs. Los Angeles. The Coyotes placed Winnik on the injured reserve list on Sunday. He is listed as week-to-week.

“That’s a hole for us to fill,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “He takes up some real important minutes in the game. He’ll certainly be missed… but now people will have to jump in and fill the void.”

On the plus side, center Vernon Fiddler, another key penalty killer, will return to the lineup after missing three games because of a lower-body injury.

The Sharks (23-8-7) have won four games in a row. While their success on offense has been well documented, it’s important to note that only four teams in the Western Conference – including the Coyotes – have allowed fewer than the 99 goals the Sharks have allowed.

“They are a solid all-around team,” Tippett said. “They don’t cheat the game on the offensive side to get all those goals. They’re a solid team all the way through. Their blue line is very good.”

Center Joe Thornton leads the Sharks and the NHL with 44 assists and 54 points. Newcomer Dany Heatley has 23 goals and 21 assists in his first season with San Jose.

“They’ve had some good scorers throughout the years, but most have been the product of Joe Thornton playing with them,” Aucoin said. “Heatley is one of those guys who can do it on his own so he’s a double threat.”

Coyotes center Martin Hanzal has registered two goals and an assist in his past three games, and has won at least 50 percent of his faceoffs in those games.
Sharks center Patrick Marleau, the second overall pick of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, has notched five goals and two assists in his past four games.
  • Tonight's game again will pit Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov against San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Both were named to Russia's Olympic team last week and are hoping to earn the top spot on the depth chart in Vancouver with solid NHL play over the next six weeks. 

  • Because they will play four games in the next six nights, the Coyotes on Sunday recalled forwards Kevin Porter and Jeff Hoggan from their American Hockey League affiliate to provide depth.

  • The Sharks have scored 127 goals in 38 games. The Coyotes, however, have held San Jose to just one goal in two games.

"I'm a depth guy. I've just got to come in and be sound and steady."

Jeff Hoggan

Doug Sulliman

  Jody Shelley
  Kurt Sauer
  Daniel Winnik
2009-2010 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 10 '10 PHX 2 at SJS 3 - SO L. Couture
Jan 12 '10 SJS 3 at PHX 1 P. Marleau
Dec 31 '09 SJS 3 at PHX 2 - SO R. Clowe
Dec 28 '09 PHX 2 at SJS 3 - SO J. Pavelski
Dec 12 '09 SJS 1 at PHX 2 R. Lang
Oct 12 '09 PHX 1 at SJS 0 - SO L. Korpikoski
S. Doan40101525-12342
M. Lombardi3661723+32230
S. Upshall3813922+63813
R. Vrbata40121022+51442
R. Lang4081220-11831
K. Yandle4061319+53132
E. Jovanovski2861319+82232
A. Aucoin4061218+52602
M. Hanzal3951318-36010
V. Fiddler374913+91700
D. Winnik3921012+101001
P. Prucha397310+01021
T. Pyatt336410+121601
Z. Michalek31279+101010
P. Mueller32189-3601
J. Vandermeer38358+74201
D. Schlemko17145+1800
S. Lepisto34055-52800
L. Korpikoski31224+1201
P. Bissonnette24202+18101
M. Boedker10022+1000
S. Heshka8022+0400
A. Eriksson3011+1200
K. Porter2000+1000
K. Sauer1000+1000
I. Bryzgalov3522-10-3709542.01.927
J. LaBarbera62-3-0131682.33.923
J. Thornton39104454+111231
D. Heatley39232144+1126105
P. Marleau39251641+15665
D. Boyle3972431+62431
R. Clowe3991726+45910
J. Pavelski2471118+91410
D. Setoguchi2710414+3441
M. Malhotra397714+71422
J. Demers3221214+51211
R. Blake282911+42410
K. Huskins3911011+43500
M. Vlasic392810+71500
J. Ortmeyer38448+12501
D. Murray37167+63700
J. McGinn33606-41801
R. Vesce8325-1001
B. Ferriero22235+4600
S. Nichol39145-74500
F. McLaren21134+55400
B. Staubitz15213-14701
D. Joslin20033+21200
J. Shelley17033+15200
L. Couture11112-2400
J. Callahan1011+1000
T. Mitchell13000+2600
J. Leach8000-1700
S. Zalewski3000-2000
E. Nabokov3421-5-77810432.30.925
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