Final SO

Series (Game 4 of 6)

San Jose leads 4-2

Game 1: Monday, October 12th
Game 2: Saturday, December 12th
Game 3: Monday, December 28th
Game 4: Thursday, December 31st
Game 5: Tuesday, January 12th
Game 6: Saturday, April 10th

Sharks 3

(26-8-7, 59 pts)

Coyotes 2

(25-13-4, 54 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 31, 2009

Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona

1 2 3 SO T
SJ 0 1 1 13
ARI 0 2 0 02

R. Clowe (Sharks - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

M. Hanzal (Coyotes - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

T. Greiss (Sharks - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .944

Sharks-Coyotes Preview


The Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks are in a tight race for first place in the Pacific Division. The Coyotes' astounding play at home is the primary reason they're in this position.

Just three days after meeting in San Jose, Phoenix looks to extend a franchise-record home winning streak to 11 games Thursday night when it hosts a Sharks team trying to win seven straight for the first time in a year.

As expected, San Jose (25-8-7) is one of the top teams in the NHL, leading the Western Conference with 57 points. A much bigger surprise has been the play of Phoenix (25-13-3), which is only four points back of the first-place Sharks.

The Coyotes suffered a tough 3-2 shootout loss in San Jose on Monday, but a return to Arena helped get them back in the win column.

Phoenix defeated Vancouver 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday for its 10th straight home win, surpassing the nine-game streak set by the Winnipeg Jets from Dec. 27, 1992 through Jan. 23, 1993.

Ed Jovanovski and Petr Prucha scored in regulation and Lauri Korpikoski had the lone goal of the shootout Tuesday for Phoenix, which improved to 12-2-2 since Nov. 27. Shane Doan and Matthew Lombardi scored for the Coyotes on Monday.

"I'm just proud of how hard the guys competed," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We played a hard, hard game in San Jose and we come back here and the guys muster up that kind of effort, it makes our whole coaching staff very proud."

The Coyotes, who haven't lost in Phoenix since falling to Tampa Bay 4-1 on Nov. 16, extended their home winning streak to six games with a 2-1 victory over San Jose on Dec. 12. The Sharks haven't lost since.

San Jose is coming off Wednesday's 5-2 win over Washington in a highly anticipated matchup between first-place teams from opposite conferences.

The Sharks proved to be too much, cruising to a sixth straight win.

Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe scored on penalty shots, making San Jose the first team since Vancouver on Feb. 11, 1982, at Detroit to score twice on penalty shots.

"It was nice to see both of them score," coach Todd McLellan said. "Maybe we should find a way to do that in the shootout a little bit more often."

Joe Pavelski had two goals for the Sharks, who haven't won seven in a row since a nine-game run Nov. 13-Dec. 4, 2008.

Pavelski scored in regulation and had the only goal in the shootout against the Coyotes earlier this week.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 31 shots Monday, and is 1-0-1 with a 0.92 goals-against average and one shutout against the Coyotes this season. He made 24 saves against the Capitals and has been in goal for each game of San Jose's winning streak, posting a 1.81 GAA.

Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who will join Nabokov on the Russian Olympic team, is expected to start this game after having a rare night off Tuesday. Bryzgalov, who has started 19 of Phoenix's last 21 games overall, has won 10 straight home starts, recording a 1.30 GAA and two shutouts.

He stopped 36 shots -- including all 19 in the third period -- against the Sharks on Monday, and is 2-0-1 with a 0.95 GAA and one shutout against them this season.