Coyotes-Sharks Preview

When it comes to converting on the power play at home, no team

is better than the San Jose Sharks.

Over the last month, no club has been better than the Phoenix

Coyotes at killing penalties on the road.

The Sharks go into Saturday night seeking their seventh straight

home victory over the Coyotes, who will try to extend their road

winning streak to four to begin a lengthy trip.

With Patrick Marleau scoring a pair of second-period power play

goals in Thursday’s 3-1 win over Minnesota, San Jose (9-4-1) has

now converted a league-best 30.0 percent (9 for 30) with the man

advantage at home.

“If you keep taking penalties and giving them chances,

eventually they are going to score,” said Wild forward Dany

Heatley, a former Shark.

Joe Pavelski scored two of San Jose’s season-best three

power-play goals – Ryane Clowe had the other – in a 6-3

season-opening victory over the visiting Coyotes.

The Sharks scored just four times while losing their next three

games, but they’ve since finished with at least three goals in nine

of 10 games while going 8-1-1.

Phoenix (7-4-3) is on a 5-1-2 run but faces a stretch of six

road games in 10 days following Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to

Montreal.

“Obviously we wanted two (points), but one point is better than

no points,” center Cal O’Reilly told the Coyotes’ official website

after earning his first point since being acquired from Nashville

two weeks ago – an assist on Mikkel Boedker’s goal.

“We got to come in San Jose and get two points and start that

road trip off right.”

The Coyotes, though, have lost 10 of 11 in this Pacific Division

matchup and six in a row at San Jose. They’ve given up nine

power-play goals in the last four visits, but they enter Saturday

having allowed just three in 13 games since the Oct. 8 loss to the

Sharks.

Phoenix has killed all 18 penalties away from home since that

matchup and have won three straight on the road. The only other

team not to give up a power-play goal on the road since Oct. 10 is

Buffalo (11 times short-handed).

The Coyotes didn’t allow one for the sixth straight game overall

Thursday, and Mike Smith made 17 of his 33 saves in the first

period. He’s 5-0-2 with a 2.37 goals-against average in his last

seven starts.

“If Smitty doesn’t make some good saves for us, we’re way behind

in the first period,” coach Dave Tippett said. “We were lucky to

come out (ahead) 1-0.”

The Coyotes can’t afford a repeat effort against a San Jose team

averaging a league-best 40 shots at home, including 52 in the first

game with Phoenix. Smith fell to 0-2-0 with a 5.58 GAA in two

starts in San Jose.

Sharks top netminder Antti Niemi missed that game following

offseason knee surgery but is 5-1-1 with a 2.12 GAA against

Phoenix.

Pavelski has six goals – four on the power play – and four

assists during the club’s home winning streak versus Phoenix.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan scored two power-play goals in the

first meeting but has just two overall since that matchup.