Programming note – Sharks-Coyotes coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 9-8-0, 18 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Coyotes: 5-9-2, 12 points, 7th Pacific Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***The Sharks conclude their longest road trip of the season tonight. They started off with three straight wins, but have since lost back-to-back games in Carolina and St. Louis. A victory tonight would still give them a very respectable 4-2 mark on the trip before they open a five-game homestand on Monday with New Jersey.
***Tomas Hertl will miss Saturday’s game, and perhaps more, depending on the results of his MRI. Hertl flew back to San Jose on Friday after he was hurt in St. Louis, and his long-term prognosis is still unknown. Melker Karlsson could return shortly after missing the last two games from blocking a shot, but considering he didn’t practice on Friday, he's probably unlikely to play tonight. Micheal Haley is the other extra forward who will likely take Hertl’s spot.
***Arizona brings a four-game losing streak into the game (0-2-2), including back-to-back overtime defeats in Calgary and Vancouver. They Coyotes have the fewest points in the NHL (12) and the worst winning percentage (.375).
***Mike Smith is expected to start in goal for Arizona. He’s 10-7-2 against San Jose in his career, and his four shutouts and .943 save percentage are his highest marks against any NHL club. He will likely face Martin Jones, but that is not yet confirmed.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Patrick Marleau. Tomas Hertl’s absence could mean a return to third line center for Marleau, who has an underwhelming four goals and one assist in 17 games. Marleau was bumped off of the struggling top power play unit late in the Blues game, too, and it’s unclear if he’ll be back with that group against the Coyotes.
Coyotes: Jamie McGinn. The former Sharks forward scored the game-winner in the first meeting between the two clubs on Nov. 1. He has six points (3g, 3a) in 11 games in his first season in Arizona after signing a three-year, $10 million contract in the offseason.
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Patrick Marleau – Tommy Wingels
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Matt Nieto
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Max Domi – Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Jamie McGinn – Christian Dvorak – Anthony Duclair
Tobias Rieder – Jordan Martinook – Shane Doan
Dylan Strome – Laurent Dauphin – Ryan White
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Connor Murphy
Alex Goligoski – Anthony DeAngelo
Jakob Chychrun – Michael Stone
Mike Smith (starter)
Sharks: Melker Karlsson (left foot/ankle area) is doubtful. Tomas Hertl (lower body) is out.
Coyotes: Tobias Rieder (lower body) and Brad Richardson (broken tibia and fibula) are out.
“There’s definitely a little bit of a void there, but next guy has to come in and step up and do the job.” – Joe Pavelski on missing Tomas Hertl, who was injured on Thursday in St. Louis