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
“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
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
“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
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.