After a disappointing finish to a 10-day road trip, the San Jose Sharks are surely looking forward to getting back home.
Looking to stay unbeaten on their own ice, the Sharks try to continue their home domination of the red-hot Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
Logan Couture had a goal and an assist and Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored, but San Jose (10-1-2) blew three one-goal leads in Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss to Los Angeles. Antti Niemi, among the NHL leaders with a 1.72 goals-against average, surrendered his most goals this season as the Sharks concluded a 3-1-1 trip.
"When we have the lead we should be able to shut it down," coach Todd McLellan said.
After killing all seven penalties during the first four games of its trek, San Jose allowed two power-play tallies on six chances, including the game-ending goal 2:32 into OT.
"Penalties are an issue," McLellan told the team's official website. "We've got some things we need to work on. Some of it is just individuals being sharp, and you can't beat teams like that with a few guys that aren't quite there. It's as simple as that."
The Sharks have to like their chances of bouncing back at home, where they have outscored teams 26-9 in opening 5-0-0 for the second straight season. San Jose won a franchise-best nine straight at home to open 2008-09.
The Sharks beat Phoenix 4-1 on Oct. 5 behind the first two goals of rookie Tomas Hertl's career. San Jose has made things especially difficult on the Coyotes at home, compiling a 17-2-3 record against them dating to 2007.
Captain Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have combined for 28 points in the last 11 home games in the series.
The Coyotes (9-3-2) are on the verge of a season-high fourth consecutive win after storming back to beat Nashville 5-4 in a shootout Thursday. Captain Shane Doan scored for the third time in four games and added an assist as Phoenix erased a 3-0 first-period deficit.
The Coyotes have been outscored 17-5 in the first period but have outscored opponents 42-26 the remainder of games.
"We have a pretty good team, I'd put this one up with some of the better ones we've had if not the best," Doan told the team's official website.
"We're been playing with fire a lot and we have to play a style that is more conducive to our success, but it's nice to know we can score when we need to."
One more win would be the 166th for Dave Tippett, which would make him the franchise's all-time winningest coach.
Former San Jose goalie Thomas Greiss made 36 saves for Phoenix, which has recorded at least one point in 10 of 11 games. Right winger Jordan Szwarz, playing in his second NHL contest, posted his first goal and defenseman Keith Yandle stayed hot with two assists.
Yandle has a goal and eight assists during a five-game point streak.
"I think we all believe we all can contribute in some way or form," said defenseman Derek Morris, who also scored. "We believe in ourselves."
Phoenix could turn back to Mike Smith, who is 4-0-0 despite a 3.00 GAA in his last five starts. Smith made 47 saves opposite Niemi last month, dropping to 6-1-1 with a 1.23 GAA in his last eight matchups versus San Jose.
Niemi is 6-0-1 with a 1.81 GAA and a shutout in eight home starts against the Coyotes with the Sharks.
Phoenix is averaging 2.7 goals on the road compared to 4.0 at home.
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- Phoenix Coyotes
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- Antti Niemi