Posted November 11, 2011 on AP on Fox
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.
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