San Jose was on a three-game winning streak in some very important late season games before the loss sent them down in the standings. In a 2-1 victory against the Eastern Conference second place Boston Bruins last week showed how well the Sharks can play against a top-notch team. Their follow-up two victories were against the Phoenix Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche who are also battling for a lower-seed playoff spot.
So a loss to Anaheim isn’t the worst thing that happened for the Sharks last night. San Jose was already 1-4 against Anaheim this season before falling to the Ducks again. As bad as it is the past is the past and that’s all Anaheim is going to be come the end of the regular season.
San Jose will be visiting another division rival tonight that they may not be the happiest to see. The Sharks are 2-3 this season against the Phoenix Coyotes and have been shutout twice by them. Not only is facing a team that they struggle against already something for the Sharks to be nervous about, but a loss to Phoenix tonight will put them in ninth place and possibly out of the playoffs.
To make things even tougher for the Sharks will be the return of the Coyotes team captain Shane Doan. Doan has never been the super-star that averages a point per game or has even ever hit the 80-point mark but he is still a reliable scorer. This Coyote feeds on the weak so San Jose will need to continue what hot-streak they do have.
Clowe is on a two-game scoring streak after he scored his 15th goal of the season last night and Logan Couture got his 30th assist last night in a similar two-game point streak. Couture has two assists in the last two games. San Jose will also need to rely on their players who have been key in their two wins against Phoenix already.
Joe Pavelski has two goals and one assist in their two wins against Phoenix, Patrick Marleau has one goal and two assists in those same games and Ryane Clowe has one goal and three assists in five games against Phoenix this season.
Tonight could be a game decision maker and the difference maker between who goes home early and who gets a chance to run toward their childhood dream of winning the Stanley Cup.