Coyotes try to bring road magic to San Jose

BY foxsports • February 1, 2011

By Santosh Venkataraman
STATS Senior Writer

The Phoenix Coyotes continue to shine on the road, but beating the San Jose Sharks has been a completely different story for them.

The Coyotes will try to win their sixth straight away from home Tuesday night and end a six-game slide against the Sharks.

Although Phoenix (25-17-9) has lost four straight at home, it's in position for its first six-game road win streak since Dec. 15, 2007-Jan. 8, 2008. The Coyotes have limited opponents to 1 for 17 on the power play during this run.

"We've gotten timely goals, and there's a combination of things that have been the recipe for success," coach Dave Tippett said. "At home we need to get a simpler approach, a harder approach - it seems to give our team a better chance to win."

Phoenix has not been able to employ that formula during an 0-3-3 stretch against San Jose (25-19-6).

Veteran center Joe Thornton has two goals and three assists, and Antti Niemi has posted a 1.50 goals-against average in two wins over the Coyotes this season.

Niemi has a 1.94 GAA as San Jose has gone 4-0-1 in its last five games. The Sharks' four-game win streak was snapped in a 3-2 shootout loss at Los Angeles on Wednesday, its last outing prior to the All-Star break.

"I think we came to play," coach Todd McLellan said. "The effort was there, the grinding part of the game was there, but I don't think we were sharp enough to win."

Devin Setoguchi has three goals in his last two games, and center Logan Couture has scored in four straight, a streak that began when he had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 road victory over Phoenix on Jan. 17.

This is the final home game for the Sharks before a seven-game trip. They have won two straight at HP Pavilion after losing six in a row there.

Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle, the team's lone All-Star, enters with the longest current point streak in the NHL at nine games (two goals, 12 assists). Yandle, ironically, was one of the few skaters not to register a point in Sunday's 11-10 All-Star game.

Phoenix right wing Lee Stempniak has five goals and six assists during a seven-game run. He believes the team's mentality on the road is the key to its strong play.

"We're a no-frills team, play four lines and try to outwork the other team," Stempniak said. "It's probably more conducive on the road where you're happy to have a tight-game mentality. We've embraced it."

Ilya Bryzgalov has a 2.13 GAA in his last four starts against the Sharks - one regulation loss and three shootout losses. His last three starts at HP Pavilion have ended in shootouts.

Backup Jason LaBarbera has posted a 2.78 GAA in losing his last four starts to the Sharks, including 4-1 in San Jose on Dec. 23.

Phoenix is 3-8-2 in its last 13 games at HP Pavilion.