Coyotes-Sharks: In the Crease

Wilson: 'We have arguably two No. 1 lines'

Coyotes-Sharks: In the Crease
October 5, 2013, 9:45 am
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The Sharks and Coyotes each won their season openers 4-1. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

INSIDE THE MATCHUP

- The Sharks are 16-2-3 in their last 21 home games against the Coyotes. San Jose has won via the shootout in four of their last nine home wins in the series.
- In their 4-1 season-opening win over the Rangers, Radim Vrbata scored the franchise's first hat trick in a season opener since Igor Korolev on October 7, 1995 against Dallas. Vrbata also had three goals in last season's finale against Anaheim.
- The Coyotes begin a season-long five-game road trip Saturday in San Jose. They finished up strong away from home last season, earning at least a point in five of their last six of the season (3-1-2).
- Last night, Shane Doan played his 1247th career game, all with the Coyotes franchise. It's the most games played by any active NHL player for one organization.
- After sweeping the Canucks in the 2013 playoffs, San Jose defeated them again in the season opener 4-1. Including postseason, the Sharks have won eight straight games over Vancouver.
- Last night, Tomas Hertl, 19, and Matt Nieto, 20, made their NHL debuts for San Jose, becoming the first two Sharks born after the franchise's first game on October 4, 1991. Hertl got his first career point with an assist.

Programming note: Sharks-Coyotes coverage gets underway today at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 1-0-0, 3rd Pacific Division, 5th Western Conference
Coyotes: 1-0-0, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 4.00 (T, 4th)
Goals-against per game: 1.00 (T, 3rd)
Power play: 0.0 percent (T, 17th)
Penalty kill: 83.3 percent (18th)

Coyotes
Goals per game: 4.00 (T, 4th)
Goals-against per game: 1.00 (T, 3rd)
Power play: 33.3 percent (T, 5th)
Penalty kill: 75.0 percent (T, 22nd)

Probable lines

Sharks
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Tyler Kennedy – Logan Couture – Patrick Marleau
Matt Nieto – Joe Pavelski – Tommy Wingels
James Sheppard – Andrew Desjardins – John McCarthy

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle
Jason Demers – Scott Hannan

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Coyotes
Mikkel Boedker – Mike Ribeiro – Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski – Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Lucas Lessio – Antoine Vermette – David Moss
Rob Kilnkhammer – Kyle Chipchura – Chris Brown

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
Keith Yandle – Derek Morris
David Schlemko – David Rundblad

Mike Smith
Thomas Greiss

Last game

Sharks: Justin Braun broke a 1-1 tie with a late second period marker, and the Sharks pulled away late from Vancouver in a 4-1 win at SAP Center on Thursday. Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau and Tommy Wingels each scored, and Logan Couture registered two assists. Antti Niemi made 21 saves in what was the Sharks’ fourth straight win in a season opener.

Coyotes: Radim Vrbata’s hat trick led the Coyotes to a 4-1 win at home over the New York Rangers. Kyle Chipchura also scored, and Mike Smith turned away 23 of 24 shots in goal.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Logan Couture. The Sharks’ center was the only player to record multiple points on Thursday, and his assist on Patrick Marleau’s third period insurance goal was perhaps the play of the game. He has seven goals in 17 career games against the Coyotes.

Coyotes: Mike Ribeiro. Phoenix’s big offseason addition takes over the top line center role for a team that had trouble scoring last season. The second-leading scorer for Washington last season, Ribeiro has 34 points in 45 career games against San Jose.

Injuries

Sharks: Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery), Marty Havlat (offseason pelvic surgery), and Adam Burish (lower body) are out. Brad Stuart (lower body) is questionable.

Coyotes: Rusty Klesla (concussion) and Paul Bissonnette (suspension) are out.

Season series

This is the first of five meetings between the Sharks and Coyotes. Phoenix returns to the Bay Area on Nov. 2.

The Sharks are 58-46-7-8 all-time against the Phoenix/Winnipeg franchise.

Quoteable

“Of course, that’s a huge thing. It was a tight game until the end, so it’s great to get the points and get the first win in the first game.” – Antti Niemi, on the Sharks’ season opening 4-1 win on Thursday over Vancouver

Burning question

What is the biggest strength of the Sharks this season? Leave your response in the comments section below.