Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/10/12
The San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes have each been atop the Pacific Division in the past two weeks. Neither, however, has been able to maintain that position. In a matchup between teams desperate for two points, the scuffling Sharks and Coyotes take the ice Saturday night in Arizona. By opening 2012 with a 10-3-2 run, San Jose (33-24-9) took over first in the division, and it looked like Todd McLellan's team was primed to capture its fifth straight Pacific title. A 5-3 loss at Phoenix on Feb. 4, however, took the steam out of the Sharks' surge and gave life to the Coyotes. Starting with the win over San Jose - highlighted by two goals from Lauri Korpikoski - Phoenix went 11-0-1 in February. As the Sharks proceeded to free fall, the Coyotes (33-25-10) moved into a first-place tie with San Jose on Feb. 21 after trailing by 12 points three weeks earlier. Phoenix has gone 0-4-1 this month, however, and now trails Pacific-leading Dallas by three points. San Jose is also winless in March (0-2-2) and is 4-10-3 since losing to the Coyotes last month to drop four points back of the Stars. The Sharks were on the verge of earning two points in Dallas on Thursday after Joe Pavelski put them in front 3-2 with his 24th goal at 16:28 of the third period. Tomas Vincour tied the score with 15 seconds left in regulation, however, and had the lone goal in the shootout to hand San Jose a 4-3 loss. "We just can't give up that last goal," said Pavelski, who has scored twice in his last 12 games. "There definitely was some good out there, but it's tough to accept when you don't get two points. We've got to find a way to win." The Coyotes are feeling the same way, looking to avoid their first six-game skid since Jan. 27-Feb. 7, 2009. Phoenix showed some fight Thursday against Minnesota, rallying from a two-goal deficit in the third period as Raffi Torres and Korpikoski scored, but it fell in a shootout 3-2. The Coyotes allowed two first-period goals and have been outscored 10-1 in the opening 20 minutes over their last five games. "We're not the kind of team geared to come from behind," backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera said. "We play better with a lead, and that's our identity. When you're chasing the game, it makes everything much more difficult on everybody." The Coyotes could have better luck against a Sharks team that has scored two first-period goals in its last four games. Both teams might be in better shape if they could get their power plays going. The Coyotes are 2 for 21 with the man advantage during their losing streak, while the Sharks have failed to score on all 10 power-play chances during their skid. San Jose's offense as a whole has been sluggish lately, scoring three goals or fewer in 11 straight games and no more than two in eight of them. Logan Couture, tied with Patrick Marleau for the team lead with 27 goals, has gone a season-worst six games without a score. That lack of firepower has made things tough on Antti Niemi, who has a 2.18 goals-against average in starting all four games of the Sharks' losing streak. In his lone start of the season against the Coyotes last month, Niemi allowed four goals on 23 shots. Phoenix's Mike Smith has been between the pipes for the season's first three meetings, going 2-1-0 with a 3.03 GAA. He is 0-3-0 with a 3.63 GAA in his last four starts.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Lesnar, Jones tested positive for same substance

Todd Bowles: Geno Smith 'can be a good starter' for Jets

Former 49ers OL: Gabbert will likely start over Kaepernick

Report: Le'Veon Bell recently completed DUI probation

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Olympic village in Rio deemed 'uninhabitable' for time being

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

10 NFL players set to become household names in 2016

Lou Holtz regrets making immigration 'joke' at RNC

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker