Thursday Jan 24th 8:30 pm AZ time at the Shark tank in San Jose.
The Coyotes will take their home win vs. Columbus and try to parlay that into a daily double. 24 hours later they will face the Sharks with uncertainty in net. Jason LaBarbera filled in nicely for an injured Mike Smith but now may face a back to back on the road if Smith cannot go.
One night after the Coyotes seemed to get back to hockey the hard way they will hunt Sharks. Possibly they will use some Blue Jackets as bait. Wednesday night they had a lot of jump from the drop of the puck. Their hard work paid off and now they look to even their record in San Jose. They got the 5-1 win without the services of their star center Martin Hanzal and Mike Smith. Even though Smith gutted out 11 mins of ice time wincing the whole time he exited with 9 mins to go in the 1st period.
The Coyotes showed glimpses they may have remembered how to play Tippett’s system and Pack mentality. It will be needed against a no nonsense Shark’s squad led by their captain Joe Thornton who leads his team with 5 assists and Patrick Marleau who is not only their points leader but has 4 tallies to light the lamp. The Sharks have taken a bite out of the competition on the road winning both games against Calgary and Edmonton 4-1 and 6-3. Coming home Antti Niemi will wait to see who he will face in the opposite net. Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski round out the top 4 point scorers for the Sharks meaning if you can take away the Center position you will have a solid chance to win.
Martin Hanzal will be a game time decision and the Coyotes will definitely need all hands on deck especially if Smith cannot go which seems unlikely at this point. Rest is needed for any lower back injury. I saw it as a groin issue but hearing through social media it was a lower body prior to game time and he was iffy to even start.
San Jose with a day of rest starts a 6 game home stretch where they await a Coyotes squad who will have played less than 24 hours ago. Also it is rumored they may acquire Scott Gomez.
Vegas odds have San Jose favored -175 to win. But hey Coyotes fans know we are always underestimated and overlooked. Let’s GO COYOTES!