Preview: Sharks & Coyotes in for Another Close Game

The San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes shouldn’t be a match-up you would think to circle on your calendar, but the two teams have a history of tight games and Coyotes wins. The Sharks are trying for their eighth winning streak of eight or more games. The Coyotes will attempt to end a two-game skid of their own.

Mike Smith: Known Shark Killer

While the Desert Dogs are having another tough year at the bottom of the Pacific, all that goes out the window when the Sharks and Coyotes face off. If you were constructing a team specifically to beat the San Jose Sharks, Mike Smith would be your goalie.

In his career against the Sharks, Smith has a respectable record of 11-7-3. Allowing just 2.09 goals per game against San Jose is excellent. What stands out is his unconscious .944 save percentage to go with four shutouts, more than any other team in the NHL. The Coyotes will need more of Smith’s anti-Sharks work if they hope to break their three-game losing streak away from Gila River Arena.


(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Up front, Alexander Burmistrov has been a nice addition for the Coyotes. The Kazan, Russan native has one goal and five assists in eight games since being claimed off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets. Radim Vrbata has been the subject of plenty of trade rumors due to his age, production and $1 million salary. The veteran right winger leads Arizona with 35 points. Max Domi also is back for the Coyotes. He skated in his first game of 2017 on Feb. 2 and will inject speed and skill for the Coyotes.

Sharks Swimming in Goals

The Sharks are returning to health and got some much-needed rest during the All-Star break. The Sharks have 11 wins in their previous 13 games and many of the ills of the early season are starting to correct.

Tomas Hertl
Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The return of Tomas Hertl sets the line-up with the smiling Czech inserted on the left wing of the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. The secondary scoring is rounding into shape as well. Over the last two weeks, the Sharks bottom-six forwards contributed 11 goals to the bottom line during that same stretch.

Patrick Marleau scored his 500th goal in the NHL last time out, becoming just the 45th player in league history to hit that mark. Marleau made quick work of getting to 500: he has seven goals in his last five games.

Arizona Coyotes at San Jose Sharks

SAP Center – 7:30 p.m. PST

Broadcast channels – CSN-CA

Radio: Sharks Radio Network

2016-17 Season Series: 

Nov. 1: Coyotes 3 – Sharks 2

Nov. 19: Coyotes 3 – Sharks 2 (Overtime)

Nov. 29: Sharks 2 – Coyotes 1 (Overtime)

San Jose Sharks – 33-17-2 (68 Points)

Home Record: 18-7-1

Hot Players: Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns

Key Injuries: Dylan DeMelo

Projected Lines:


Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Kevin Labanc

Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward

Timo Meier – Ryan Carpenter – Melker Karlsson


Paul Martin – Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Starting Goaltender:

Martin Jones (Expected)

Arizona Coyotes – 16-28-6 (38 points)

Road Record: 5-15-4

Hot Players: Radim Vrbata

Key Injuries: Brad Richardson

Projected Lines:


Tobias Rieder – Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata

Max Domi – Christian Dvorak – Shane Doan

Jamie McGinn -Alexander Burmistrov -Brenden Perlini

Lawson Crouse – Jordan Martinook – Josh Jooris


Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Luke Schenn

Alex Goligoski – Mark Stone

Jakob Chychrun – Connor Murphy

Starting Goaltender

Mike Smith (expected)

Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes, NHL
Photo: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Brent Burns continues to pace the Norris Trophy race. The Sharks dynamic defender leads the team and all NHL defenders in goals (22) points (55) and leads the NHL in shots on goal with 201.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Vrbata has been a mainstay in the trade rumors, with the San Jose Sharks said to be interested. He’s a veteran of 984 NHL games and for his career a solid 50.9 Corsi-for percentage despite playing six seasons since 2007 with a middling Coyotes squad.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Shane Doan is in his 21st NHL season. Doan is said to be available as a trade rental for one last kick at the Stanley Cup can. However, Mr. Coyote has only four goals and 12 assists this year and has not found the back of the net since Dec. 23. It could be hard to find suitors able to absorb his $3.87 million cap hit as well, even late in the season.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Marleau is the one of five active NHL player to score 500 goals along with Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla, Alex Ovechkin and Marian Hossa. He joins Teemu Selanne and Jeremy Roenick as the only Sharks in the 500-goal club. Marleau is the second player to score his 500th goal as a member of the Sharks, joining Roenick in that distinction.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Sharks own a all-time record of 70-49-7-11 against the the Coyotes, dating back to the franchise’s time as the Winnipeg Jets.