Programming note: Sharks-Coyotes coverage gets underway today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE -- In an offseason move that wasn’t very surprising, the Sharks decided to let goaltender Thomas Greiss leave the organization as an unrestricted free agent, opening the door for Alex Stalock to back up Antti Niemi in 2013-14.
Greiss promptly agreed to a one-year, $750,000 contract with Phoenix, and it’s worked out so far for the 27-year-old German native and his new club. Greiss has won both of his starts, and is 2-1-0 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in four games.
Against Nashville on Thursday, Greiss allowed three first period goals before settling in and holding the fort for his team to erase that 3-0 hole and win 5-4 in a shootout.
“He’s been solid. He started two games for us, he’s won both games, and that’s what you expect,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said on Saturday morning. “He’s a guy that comes in, in some tough situations, and he gives you a chance to win. That’s what he’s done.”
Like the Sharks with Dan Boyle, the Coyotes will welcome back a big ingredient to their team on Saturday when Martin Hanzal returns from a two-game suspension.
The six-foot-six inch, 230-pound center was punished by the league for an illegal hit on the Oilers’ Jeff Petry. In 12 games, Hanzal is tied for second on the Coyotes in scoring with 11 points (5g, 6a). Indications are he will center Lauri Korpikoski and Radim Vrbata against the Sharks.
“Hopefully, he stays out of trouble,” Tippett said. “We need him to play a big, strong game. He’s been a real good player for us this year, and getting him back in the lineup, we’ll certainly welcome him back.
“He’s got to watch some of the hits. He’s a big guy and has a tendency to come up on some people. We’ll have to try and keep those out of his game. The rest of it, he’s got to play hard, play disciplined and he can really help our team.”
Phoenix will hope to play better than it did in a 4-1 loss at SAP Center on Oct. 5.
“It was early in the season. We were trying to get our game together. Obviously, we have to improve over last time we were here,” Tippett said.