The road has not been kind to the San Jose Sharks of late, but the club hopes to reverse its fortunes when it visits the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday. San Jose is 10-7-3 on the road this season but has lost five of its last six games away from home. The Sharks are coming off their second consecutive shootout win at home, a 5-4 triumph over Colorado in which they allowed two goals in a 12-second span with less than two minutes remaining in the third period to fall behind before Joe Pavelski tallied with 19.6 seconds to play.
Phoenix has won just one of its last five games (1-2-2), scoring only one goal in each of the defeats. The Coyotes lost in unusual fashion Monday, dropping a 2-1 overtime decision in Buffalo when the puck popped into the air and fell into the back of Mike Smith's pants before the goaltender spun around and slid back into his own net, unknowingly handing the Sabres the winning goal. The setback concluded a 1-1-2 road trip for Phoenix, which has played only two of its 10 games this month at home.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, CSN California (San Jose), KTVK (Phoenix)
ABOUT THE SHARKS (23-8-6): Logan Couture has gone six games without a point, leaving him stuck on 99 goals and 98 assists for his career. The 24-year-old's longest previous drought this season was three contests (Nov. 2-7). Tomas Hertl, who leads all rookies with 15 goals and 25 points, is expected to miss more than a month following surgery caused by a knee-on-knee hit by Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown on Dec. 19.
ABOUT THE COYOTES (19-10-7): Antoine Vermette arguably has been Phoenix's best player thus far as he leads the team in goals (12), faceoff winning percentage (58.1), blocked shots (32) and average ice time among forwards (19:24). With 22 points in 36 games, the 31-year-old already has eclipsed his output from last season (21 in 48). Martin Hanzal is riding a three-game point streak (two goals) after being kept off the scoresheet in his previous seven contests.
1. Sharks captain Joe Thornton is three assists away from tying Alex Delvecchio (825) for 25th place on the all-time list. He also is 12 points shy of matching Bobby Hull (1,170) for 48th in NHL history.
2. The Sharks, who have won consecutive games for the first time since capturing six in a row from Nov. 21-Dec. 3, went 1-0-1 in two home meetings with the Coyotes earlier this season.
3. Phoenix has gone beyond regulation in each of its last three games.
PREDICTION: Coyotes 3, Sharks 2