By Dave Vest In their first game after the NHL All-Star break, the Coyotes will try to extend their road winning streak to six games tonight when they play the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavilion. The puck drops at 8 p.m. (Arizona time).
The Coyotes (25-17-9) will enter the game in sixth place in the Western Conference standings, three points ahead of eighth-place San Jose (25-19-6).
Phoenix has struggled vs. San Jose lately having lost six games in a row (0-3-3) to the Sharks, including both games played this season.
Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes as they begin the stretch run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Bryzgalov has posted a 2.13 goals-against average in his last four starts against the Sharks, but he has lost all four games. His last three starts at HP Pavilion have ended in shootouts – one win, two defeats.
Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle, who played in his first NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, will try to extend his point streak to 10 games. Yandle leads all NHL defensemen with 44 points and 36 assists. On Monday, the NHL named him its No. 2 Star of the Month for January. Yandle notched three goals and 14 assists in 14 games last month. He also had a plus-9 rating.
► Click here to listen to Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett discuss Keith Yandle's season and more.
Photo by Getty Images.
The Sharks, who are facing a seven-game trip after tonight’s game, posted a 4-0-1 record in their last five games before the All-Star break.
Per usual, the Sharks have been solid on the power play this season and will enter the game ranked fourth in the NHL in man-advantage efficiency at 22.4 percent.
San Jose is expected to start Antti Niemi in goal. Niemi has stopped 58 of 61 shots he has faced vs. Phoenix this season and has posted a 1.50 goals-against average in two wins over the Coyotes.
Sharks rookie forward Logan Couture is having a Calder Trophy-like season. He leads the team and all NHL rookies with 22 goals. He also is leading the rookies with six power-play goals, six game-winning goals and 166 shots.
Coyotes right wing Lee Stempniak has notched at least one point in each of the past seven games. In that span, he has five goals and six assists.
Sharks goalie Antti Niemi has won four of his past five decisions, and he posted a 2.00 goals-against average in those games.
The Coyotes have earned 34 points on the road this season, which is the most by any team in the Western Conference and the fourth-most among all NHL teams.
Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski ranks seventh in the NHL in shooting percentage at 18.6. He has scored 11 goals on 59 shots.
This game can be seen on Versus and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at phoenixcoyotes.com at 8 p.m.
Click below to listen to members of the Coyotes talk about tonight's game.