By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to extend their winning streak to five games on Monday when they host the San Jose Sharks at Jobing.com Arena in a holiday matinee game. The puck drops at 2 p.m. (Arizona time).
The Coyotes will enter the game having earned at least one point in each of their past eight games (6-0-2).
Eleven Coyotes notched at least one point in Phoenix’s 6-2 win over Anaheim on Saturday night. Ray Whitney
and Lee Stempniak
led the way with three points apiece.
is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes. Bryzgalov has quietly won four starts in a row and posted a 2.00 goals-against average while his teammates scored 19 goals in those games. On Monday, the NHL named Bryzgalov its No. 3 Star of the Week for his play last week.
“I think our group has played very well,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said after Sunday’s practice. “We’re getting contributions right throughout our lineup on the offensive side and our goaltending has been very solid. We’re going into games, we’re scoring a few goals and we’re finding ways to win.”
The Coyotes (23-13-9) will play minus center Vernon Fiddler
for the first time this season. Fiddler suffered an upper-body injury during a fight with Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey on Saturday night, and is on the injured reserve list, listed as week-to-week. Phoenix on Sunday recalled forward Brett MacLean from the American Hockey League to fill Fiddler’s spot on the roster. Look for MacLean to play on the “Kid Line” with former AHL linemates Kyle Turris
and Mikkel Boedker
The Coyotes, who likely also will play without defenseman Ed Jovanovski
(lower-body injury) and newly acquired defenseman Michal Rozsival
(upper-body injury), are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with 55 points. Three teams – Nashville, Chicago and Anaheim – are just one point behind them.
|Photo by Getty Images.
San Jose (22-19-5) beat St. Louis, 4-2, on Saturday to snap a six-game losing streak. The Sharks have only scored 13 goals in eight games this month, an average of 1.63 per game. As a result, San Jose will enter the game in 11th place in the conference standings, three points behind eighth-place Colorado.
The Sharks, who have beaten the Coyotes five times in a row, have the fifth best power play in the NHL (22.6 percent) and is the second best NHL team in the faceoff circles (53.8 percent).
San Jose forwards Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton share the team lead with 41 points each. Logan Couture leads all NHL rookies with 19 goals.
Today's game will be the 1,000th NHL game for Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau, all with San Jose.
"It makes it special to be able to stay in one city," Marleau told the Mercury News. "When you're growing up, you're seeing guys like (Mario) Lemieux and (Joe) Sakic that stay with one team the whole time. I've always kind of admired that."