The Coyotes continue on with their six-game road trip tonight in San Jose against a hot Sharks squad. The Sharks have won three straight while the Coyotes have won only one of their four games on this trip so far. Anytime these two teams face one another, you can expect a hard fought and gritty effort from both teams.
Going into this game, you have to favor the Sharks. They are playing better hockey at the current moment than Phoenix and are at home. Phoenix is also banged up. Taylor Pyatt was placed on injured reserve just yesterday because of an upper body injury and was replaced on the roster by Mikkel Boedker.
Ilya Bryzgalov continues to battle an upper body injury as well and remains questionable to start tonight. Jason LaBarbera has started the past three games on this road trip. He struggled mightily Monday night in Pittsburgh and was replaced by Matt Climie midway through the second period. Climie could get the start tonight in San Jose if Bryzgalov is unable to go.
Whoever is in goal for Phoenix, they will have their work cut out for them as San Jose is loaded offensively. Dany Heatley and Ryane Clowe lead the team in points with 31 a piece. Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski are right behind those two. Thornton has 29 points on the year while Pavelski has 25. Goal scoring certainly isn’t the issue in San Jose.
San Jose’s main issue so far this season has been their goaltending. Antti Niemi, who came over from Chicago during the offseason, has been a major disappointment. His GAA is well over three on the season and his save percentage is at a poor 90 percent. Journeyman Antero Niittymaki has stepped up though. He has won his last four starts and has given up only nine goals over that stretch. He should be in goal once again tonight for the Sharks.