Battling for the top spot in the Pacific Division, the Arizona Coyotes have sandwiched a pair of three-game slides around a four-game winning streak. The Coyotes are seeking to avoid a season-worst fourth consecutive defeat when they square off with the visiting San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night in their third meeting since Nov. 30.
Arizona is without its top two netminders due to injury but snagged a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh as Adin Hill turned aside 31 shots. "He's been battling since he's been here," forward Derek Stepan said of Hill. "The kid just wants to continue to grow as a goaltender, and he's been doing that." San Jose staggered through a stretch last month in which it lost 10 of 11 but is 5-2-1 in the last eight following back-to-back victories over Columbus and Dallas. The Sharks posted a 4-2 victory at Arizona on Nov. 30 but dropped a 3-2 decision to the Coyotes at home on Dec. 17.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (21-22-4): Defenseman Brent Burns had to exit Saturday's game due to an upper-body injury but returned in the third period and wound up with a goal and an assist in San Jose's 2-1 win. Burns, who has scored in back-to-back games, did not practice Monday but is listed as probable to extend his consecutive-games streak that now stands at 518. "He was a little sore yesterday and today," coach Bob Boughner said. "Just double-checking just to be careful with the doctors, but hopefully he's going to play tomorrow."
ABOUT THE COYOTES (25-18-5): Starting netminder Darcy Kuemper is expected to be out until the All-Star break and Antti Raanta is not expected to be available Tuesday, but Arizona received a boost on the blue line Sunday. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson returned to the lineup following a 43-game absence and made an immediate impact with an assist and two blocked shots. "He's worked extremely hard to get back to this position," coach Rick Tocchet said. "It killed Nik to be out for that long, it's an inspiring thing for us."
1. Sharks D Erik Karlsson has a goal and five assists during a five-game point streak.
2. The Coyotes are 0-for-9 on the power play during their three-game slide.
3. Sharks C Barclay Goodrow (illness) missed Monday's practice but will travel to Arizona.