Programming note: Sharks-Coyotes coverage starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California with Sharks Pregame Live (territory restrictions apply)
Where they stand
Sharks: 22-16-5, 49 points, 4th Pacific Division
Coyotes: 16-21-4, 36 points, 6th Pacific Division
Sharks: Melker Karlsson scored for the fifth straight game, equaling a Sharks rookie record, but that was all the offense San Jose could muster against the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist in a 3-1 home loss on Saturday. The Sharks are 3-5-1 in their last nine games, and enter tonight clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They will play seven straight games at SAP Center, and 10 of the next 12, beginning with Toronto on Thursday.
Coyotes: Playing in their fourth game of a current six-game homestand, Arizona lost convincingly to Ottawa on Saturday, 5-1. The Coyotes have alternated wins and losses in their last six games, beating the Flyers, Blue Jackets and Jets, but dropping 6-0 margins to the Stars and Blues. Mike Smith has started the last four games in goal for Arizona, going 2-2.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Justin Braun. The Sharks defenseman has been split from regular partner Marc-Edouard Vlasic for the last four games, and has struggled a bit with new partner Brenden Dillon. Braun lost his man in the 7-2 loss to St. Louis last week on a key goal, and on Saturday against the Rangers, couldn’t stop Chris Kreider form getting in front of the net to whack in a rebound. Braun, who has played in all 43 games with 14 points, leads the Sharks with 76 blocked shots.
Coyotes: Mikkel Boedker. The Coyotes winger has four points in the last two games, including three goals, taking over the team lead with 12. The 25-year-old had a pair of assists in Arizona’s win over the Sharks in November, and leads the Coyotes with 17 points at home.
Goals per game: 2.65 (18th)
Goals-against per game: 2.65 (17th)
Power play: 20.9 percent (8th)
Penalty kill: 80.7 percent (16th)
Goals per game: 2.29 (26th)
Goals-against per game: 3.27 (27th)
Power play: 21.8 percent (6th)
Penalty kill: 74.6 percent (29th)
Melker Karlsson – Logan Couture – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Matt Nieto
Barclay Goodrow – James Sheppard – Tommy Wingels
Tye McGinn – Tomas Hertl – Tyler Kennedy
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun
Scott Hannan – Matt Tennyson
Martin Erat – Antoine Vermette – Shane Doan
Lucas Lessio – Sam Gagner – Mikkel Boedker
Tobias Rieder – Kyle Chipchura – Lauri Korpikoski
Brandon McMillan – Joe Vitale – David Moss
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Michael Stone
Keith Yandle – Chris Summers
Brandon Gormley – Connor Murphy
Devan Dubnyk (confirmed starter)
Sharks: Raffi Torres (right knee), Mike Brown (broken right fibula) and Mirco Mueller (wrist) are out. Andrew Desjardins is healthy but will not play.
Coyotes: Martin Hanzal (upper body) is on injured reserve. Zbynek Michalek (upper body) is day-to-day.
Arizona claimed a 4-3 shootout win over the Sharks in the first meeting on Nov. 22. San Jose returns to Gila River Arena on Feb. 13, and the teams will play a home-and-home on back-to-back nights starting on April 3 at SAP Center.
The Sharks are 62-46-16 all-time against Winnipeg/Arizona.
Odds and ends
*Along with Melker Karlsson, Jeff Friesen (1994-95) is the only other Sharks rookie to score a goal in five straight games.
*The Sharks reassigned forward Freddie Hamilton to Worcester on Monday.
*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the Coyotes’ lone All-Star. The 23-year-old will be playing in his 300th career game tonight.
*Keith Yandle is second among NHL defensemen in power-play points (17) and power-play assists (15).
*Patrick Marleau, who has just one goal in his last 21 games, scored his first NHL goal against Nikolai Khabibulin at Phoenix on Oct 19, 1997.
*Joe Thornton played his first NHL game on Oct. 8, 1997 at Phoenix.
*Mike Smith is 8-4-2 with 4 shutouts, a 2.12 GAA and a .943 SP in 15 career games against the Sharks. He has more career shutouts vs. San Jose than any other NHL opponent, and his .943 SV% against the Sharks is his highest vs. any team.
“The NHL does a great job. It’s a fun weekend. They do a really good job making sure the families have fun. It’s fun to get back to the game, and you just have no stress. Everything is taken care of. It’s a great event.” – Brent Burns, on being named to the NHL All-Star Game