Winners of 10 of their past 12 games, the San Jose Sharks will try to continue their climb up the Pacific Division standings when they face the second-place Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night in Glendale, Ariz., in the second half of a back-to-back for both teams.
The Sharks, who began the season with four consecutive losses and had another early stretch that saw them drop seven of eight games, have moved back into fourth place in the Pacific thanks to their latest run of victories. San Jose trails first-place Edmonton by just six points.
San Jose bounced back from a lethargic 5-1 setback to visiting Winnipeg on Wednesday to cruise past the visiting Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Friday afternoon.
Martin Jones had 33 saves and added an assist on Noah Gregor’s first NHL career goal, and Patrick Marleau scored his 557th career goal to move past Johnny Bucyk into 27th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list as the Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and led 4-0 after two periods.
“I thought that was going to be the test tonight,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said of his team’s rebounding from the ugly loss to the Jets. “Can we recognize what we didn’t do last game and get it fixed tonight? I thought we did that. We were much more competitive in all areas on the ice.”
“Yeah, that was not our best effort the other night,” said Jones, who lost his shutout when Kyle Clifford scored with just 1:49 remaining. “Great game tonight. I thought we played well all over the ice. Great bounce-back for sure.”
Marleau, who needs three goals to catch Guy Lafleur (660) for 26th place and is four goals behind Mike Modano in 25th place, scored his sixth goal of the season at the 7:26 mark, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic made it 2-0 less than six minutes later.
“It’s important to get that lead,” said Joe Thornton. “Last game, we didn’t have a very good game and we addressed that. To come out here and get two quick ones is huge, and then to follow up in the second period and get two more … it’s a good game for the guys.”
Thornton assisted on Marleau’s opening goal.
“Some of those names around Patty’s name, it’s just incredible,” Thornton said. “It’s going to be fun to watch him catch some more guys.”
San Jose also set an NHL record with the victory, winning its 44th consecutive game when allowing two or fewer goals.
Second-place Arizona moved within one point of the Oilers for the lead in the Pacific Division with a 2-1 shootout loss against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday afternoon in Las Vegas. Alex Tuch scored the game-winner in the third round of the shootout.
“It would have been great to win this one, but if we keep bagging points, we’re going to be in good shape,” Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers said.
“We played a good hockey game,” added Arizona coach Rick Tocchet. “We deserved better. I’m proud of the guys. We played hard.”
–Field Level Media