Programming note – Sharks-Coyotes coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 34-18-6, 74 points, 1st Pacific Division
Coyotes: 20-29-7, 47 points, 7th Pacific Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***The Sharks have just one win in their last six games, but have managed a point in four of them (1-1-4). That includes Wednesday’s 6-5 overtime loss against Florida in which they were as defensively inept as they’ve been all season. Keeping the puck out of their own net has been an issue lately, as they’ve given up 20 goals over the last five games (4.00 per game), including three goals-against in overtime.
Arizona is 3-0-1 against the Sharks this season.
“They’ve had our number,” Micheal Haley said. “They play well against us, and we’ve got to come ready to play.”
Logan Couture said: “They’re a division team, they’re a young team, a lot of guys are making impressions whether it’s for contracts next year or a job to finish off this year. They’re going to work hard.”
***San Jose will host Boston on Sunday in the second of a back-to-back, in the final game before the bye week. They’d like to maintain their division lead, which stands at four points, going into the five-day break from Feb. 20-24.
“You want to give it [everything] because you know you’re going to have that rest,” Joe Thornton said.
***Aaron Dell will make his 10th start, after a 33-save performance in a losing effort in Philadelphia one week ago. Dell is 6-3-1 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .930 save percentage, while his .950 even strength save percentage is the best mark in the NHL for goalies that have made at least 10 appearances.
Mike Smith will go for Arizona. In three games against the Sharks this season, he’s 2-0-1 with a 1.93 GAA and .953 SP.
“We know their goaltender is their best player,” Couture said. “For us, we’re going to try and get some shots and get some traffic in front of him.”
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Nikolay Goldobin. The former first-round pick is set to make his season debut, and will be the seventh forward that started the season on the AHL Barracuda to get in an NHL game. The 21-year-old, who has 37 points in 43 games in the minors this season, will start on the left side of the third line with Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward. It will be his first game with the Sharks since Nov. 22, 2015.
Coyotes: Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Coyotes’ top defenseman brings a five-game point streak into tonight’s game, with six assists over that span. The 25-year-old is second on the Coyotes in scoring with 33 points (10g, 23a) while averaging 24:17 of ice time.
Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Nikolay Goldobin – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Aaron Dell (starter)
Max Domi – Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Brendan Perlini – Christian Dvorak – Shane Doan
Tobias Rieder – Alex Burmistrov – Josh Jooris
Jordan Martinook – Peter Holland – Ryan White
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Luke Schenn
Alex Goligoski – Michael Stone
Kevin Connauton – Connor Murphy
Mike Smith (starter)
Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body) and Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) are out.
Coyotes: Lawson Crouse (lower body), Brad Richardson (broken leg) and Louie Domingue (lower body) are out.
“We’re a tough team, we’re a big team, we’re a strong team. If we play that way with puck possession, they can chase us around and take penalties if they want.” – Logan Couture, on how to approach the Coyotes’ physicality