Sharks-Coyotes Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 14, 2013
The Phoenix Coyotes suffered a costly loss their last time out to a team that had nothing to play for. They'll try to get back on track in their next game against a San Jose Sharks team that has plenty at stake. The Coyotes host the Sharks in a battle of Western Conference playoff hopefuls Monday night, with Phoenix looking for its third straight home shutout in the series. Phoenix is just outside the playoff picture in 11th place and can't afford to miss out on points as it did Saturday in a 3-2 overtime loss to Calgary. ''It's good to get one point versus no points,'' said defenseman Keith Yandle, who tied the game with just over five minutes left in the third. ''We've got seven games left and we've got to take care of what we can take care of and get two points in as many games as we can.'' The Coyotes (18-16-7) blew a valuable opportunity to do that against a rebuilding Flames club that has one of the worst records in the league, losing despite grabbing the lead 1:29 into the game. ''That was obviously big to get a point, but not good enough, we need to get two,'' captain Shane Doan said. ''You have to try and stay within striking distance.'' The offense has dried up for Phoenix as it's dropped two of three, totaling five goals in those games after scoring at least four three times during a preceding 4-0-1 stretch. The Coyotes also allowed three goals for the first time in six games as they completed a three-game road trip. Phoenix would certainly like to get back on track Monday at home, where it's won three in a row, before heading right back out on another three-game trip. The Coyotes have gone 3-7-5 in their last 15 away from the desert. Phoenix appears to have an even better chance to pick up two points with San Jose being its opponent. The Coyotes have won four straight at home in the series and posted shutouts in the last two such games, March 10 and 29, 2012. Mike Smith was spectacular in both, stopping 42 shots in the first and 38 in the second. Smith has blanked the Sharks in four of his last six starts against them, going 5-0-1 with a 0.97 goals-against average in that span. If Smith is in goal Monday, he'll face a San Jose club that's gone 1-2-1 since an eight-game winning streak, totaling one goal in its two regulation defeats. The Sharks (21-13-7) outshot Dallas 32-19 on Sunday but lost 2-1. San Jose, which will be wrapping up a four-game trip, is holding down the fifth seed in the tightly bunched West. ''We can't get too high, we can't get too low,'' said coach Todd McLellan, whose team was coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Detroit on Thursday. ''We've got to play every minute of all 60 as hard as we can. I thought that was probably our downfall tonight. We probably gave away 13 or 14 minutes of valuable time and it cost us.'' San Jose visits Phoenix again April 24. Sharks center Joe Pavelski has one goal and four assists in his last three games versus the Coyotes.
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