NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, January 24th
(All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-0) at San Jose Sharks (2-0-0), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks used a first-period barrage to spoil
one team's home opener. They hope they saved some goals for their HP Pavilion
season debut on Thursday night as they battle the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Sharks began the shortened season with road wins at Calgary and Edmonton.
They did not give the Oilers much time to enjoy their first home game of the
season as San Jose set a club road record with six first-period goals in a 6-3
San Jose went 3-for-5 on the power play in the game, scoring twice on the man
advantage before the game was even five minutes old. Patrick Marleau and Logan
Couture both scored twice and had an assist in the win, while Joe Thornton
ended with three assists.
"We came out flying. Our power play was great," said defenseman Dan Boyle, who
had one of the early goals on the man advantage.
Antti Niemi made 26 saves for San Jose, which will play its next six at home
and is looking to win its first three to begin a season since going 4-0 at the
start of the 2008-09 campaign.
The Sharks added scoring depth on Wednesday, signing Scott Gomez to a one-year
contract. Gomez had his contract bought out by the Montreal Canadiens, who he
spent the previous three seasons with.
The 33-year-old Anchorage native totaled six goals and 13 points in 11 games
for the Alaska Aces in the ECHL during the lockout, but has only nine goals in
his previous two NHL seasons.
It is not known if Gomez will make his Sharks' debut Thursday night.
Phoenix comes to town off its first victory of the season, a 5-1 win over the
Columbus Blue Jackets that followed losses to the Dallas Stars and Chicago
The Coyotes won despite starting goaltender Mike Smith exiting early in the
first period with a lower body injury. He suffered what head coach Dave
Tippett called a minor injury in warmups and exited after 11 minutes of
"I'm not sure where he will be at (Thursday)," said Tippett. "The trainers
came to me after warmup and said 'Smith's a little tight and you might want to
keep an eye on him,' and little tight turned into can't play."
Smith was expected to travel to San Jose and is day-to-day, though goaltender
Chad Johnson is slated to be recalled from the AHL.
Jason LaBarbera earned the win in relief, making 21 saves.
Steve Sullivan, signed as a free agent this offseason, netted his eighth
career hat trick and first since Dec. 14, 2009 to pace Phoenix's offense.
Sullivan's last three-goal game also came versus the Blue Jackets while with
the Nashville Predators.
"We really wanted this game tonight. Obviously starting 0-2 in a shortened
season, we knew this was huge for us," Sullivan said.
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson added two scores and one assist for the
Coyotes, who also played without Martin Hanzal and Rostislav Klesla due to
lower body injuries. Both skaters are day-to-day.
Though the Coyotes won four of six versus the Sharks last season, they have
dropped seven of eight and 14 of their last 18 in San Jose.
01/24 10:53:34 ET