Phoenix Coyotes Take On San Jose Sharks, 2 P.M. AZT

(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks ended a sizeable losing streak in their last trip to the ice and will try to post consecutive wins when they visit the surging Phoenix Coyotes for this afternoon's Pacific Division battle at Jobing.com Arena.

San Jose had lost six straight games -- all in regulation -- before ending the slide with Saturday's 4-2 home victory over the St. Louis Blues. The win allowed the Sharks to avoid their first seven-game skid since the 2005-06 season.

Phoenix, meanwhile, has won four in a row and the Coyotes have yet to suffer a regulation loss in 2011, posting a 6-0-2 record in January.

With 55 points, the Coyotes are second in the Pacific Division and four points behind first-place Dallas. Phoenix is also fourth in the Western Conference standings and just one point ahead of Nashville, Chicago and Anaheim.

The Sharks, who have won the last three Pacific titles, are currently tied with Los Angeles for last in the division and are trailing Phoenix by six points.

San Jose and the Coyotes have so far met for just one of their six meetings this season and the Sharks recorded a 4-1 home victory in that encounter on Dec. 23. The Sharks have taken five straight and eight of 12 overall in the series and have posted victories in their last two trips to the desert.

Dany Heatley scored two goals and Antti Niemi made 28 saves to lead the Sharks to their recent home win over the Blues. The victory also ended a six-game losing streak on home ice for San Jose.

Sharks captain Joe Thornton and Jamie McGinn also tallied for the Sharks, who picked up their first win since they defeated Los Angeles on New Year's Day.

"It's been a while since we won, so everybody can just exhale for a little bit," Thornton said. "But still, we've still got to work hard. This doesn't stop here."

Sharks forward Ryane Clowe missed Saturday's win with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for this afternoon's contest. Meanwhile, Logan Couture returned to the lineup Saturday after the standout rookie forward missed one game with an injured right knee.

San Jose is 11-9-2 as the visiting team this season and will wrap a brief two- game road trip Thursday night in Vancouver.

The Coyotes recorded their fourth straight win in impressive fashion, as they pounded the visiting Anaheim Ducks, 6-2, on Saturday. Ray Whitney tallied two goals and an assist as Phoenix recorded four or more goals for the fourth consecutive game.

Lee Stempniak added a goal and two assists while Sami Lepisto notched a goal and an assist for the Coyotes. Taylor Pyatt and Adrian Aucoin also lit the lamp for the victors and Ilya Bryzgalov made 26 saves.

"It was a good quality team effort from us," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. "I felt like there was a lot of things on the line for us."

The Coyotes played Saturday without Ed Jovanovski, who suffered a lower-body injury in Phoenix's 5-1 rout of Toronto on Thursday. Jovanovski was injured on a blindside hit by Maple Leafs forward Mike Brown, who was suspended three games for the incident. Jovanovski is questionable for this afternoon's contest.

In other injury news, Coyotes forward Vernon Fiddler suffered an upper-body injury on Saturday and is questionable for today's game. Also, defenseman Michal Rozsival has bruised ribs and has yet to play for Phoenix since being acquired in last week's trade with the New York Rangers. Rozsival is day-to- day.

Phoenix is 10-5-5 as the host this year and is playing the third test of a four-game homestand today.

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