Coyotes continue battle for playoff spot in rematch vs. Sharks

NHL Hockey

The Arizona Coyotes will continue their challenging battle for a playoff spot on Wednesday evening when they face a rematch with the host San Jose Sharks.

Wednesday’s game will be the sixth of the season between San Jose (19-24-5, 43 points) and Arizona (21-23-5, 47 points) and the second of four meetings between the two teams over a two-week span. The Coyotes currently lead the season series 3-1-1.

San Jose is giving goaltender Josef Korenar a second consecutive start on Wednesday night following his performance in Monday’s 6-4 win over Arizona. The Czech goalie has a 1-3-0 record through six games this season, although three of those games were in relief of Martin Jones. Korenar made 21 saves in Monday’s game versus the Coyotes, keeping the visitors off the board until the second period.

“It was a hard game, the hardest I’ve ever played,” Korenar said Monday. “They tried to push in the end, and they almost made it.”

There is no word yet on who Arizona head coach Rick Tocchet will select to start in net for Wednesday’s game. Tocchet pulled Darcy Kuemper in the second period of Monday’s game in place of Adin Hill.

The Sharks narrowly beat Jakob Chychrun and the Coyotes on Monday after giving up a four-goal lead. San Jose took a 1-0 lead 17 second into the first period and had mounted a 4-0 advantage by the 3:19 mark in the second, forcing Arizona to pull Kuemper for Hill. The Coyotes got on the board shortly after the goalie change and came within one goal of the Sharks by the 2:02 mark of the third period. Chychrun found the back of the net twice in the third frame, but it wasn’t enough for Arizona to take control of the game.

“When you’re chasing the whole game, it’s tough to get back in it,” said Arizona’s Michael Bunting, who registered a goal and an assist in Monday’s game. “We had some great fight and we came close a couple of times, but this one is going to sting.”

Tocchet agreed: “We gave them two or three goals as a gift, and that’s hard to come back from. (We had) a late rally, but we shouldn’t have had to. We shouldn’t have given them those goals to start the game.”

While the Sharks were plenty happy to get back into the win column after dropping eight straight contests, head coach Bob Boughner would have preferred his team hadn’t allowed the four-goal lead to be so easily erased.

“The game was 4-0, and it was a lot closer than it should have been after that, and I say that with all respect to the other team,” Boughner said after the game. “There are a couple of goals we’d like to have back, but we didn’t let them rattle us.”

–Field Level Media

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