The Coyotes will take their second crack at trying to secure a playoff berth when they host the San Jose Sharks on Friday night, in the last regular season home game of the 2010-2011 season. Phoenix had a chance to capture a spot in the Western Conference playoffs on Wednesday, but lost to the Los Angeles Kings in a shootout. The only thing the Coyotes can't do if they want a spot is lose in regulation to their Pacific Division rivals, with just one point separating them from a second consecutive berth.
In attempting to reach the postseason, the Coyotes will kick off the first half of a home-and-home with San Jose on Friday, a team which has had Phoenix's number over the past couple of seasons.
The Sharks have won the last eight tilts between these two squads, with the Coyotes suffering an 0-5-3 record against last year's No. 1 seed in the West.
The Sharks have experienced a strong second half surge, mostly due to the torrid run of their goaltender, Antti Niemi. Last year's Cup-winning goaltender has won all three of his starts against the Yotes this season, and is 4-0-1 against them in his career.
There is a small chance that the Coyotes could have a completely healthy roster heading into their final two games. After Taylor Pyatt, Lauri Korpikoski, and Ed Jovanovski all returned from injuries on Wednesday, Martin Hanzal could return on Friday, giving the Yotes the final piece of their injury-ridden roster.
Even in the Coyotes fail to grab a win on Friday, they could get a little bit of help from the Colorado Avalanche, who are playing the Dallas Stars on Friday. A loss by the Stars secures a playoff spot for the Coyotes, no matter the result at Jobing.com Arena on Friday.
Follow along with our own Five For Howling as the Coyotes look to conclude their quest for a playoff berth against Niemi and the Sharks on Friday night, during Fan Appreciation night.