|7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 PM MST10:30 PM EST7:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ETNaN:� BRT, February 2, 2019
SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California Attendance: 17,227
Coyotes, Sharks raring to return from break
The Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks are ready to get back to business.
At least, most of them are.
When the teams meet Saturday night in San Jose in the first game for both since before the All-Star break, the Sharks could be without defenseman Erik Karlsson.
Karlsson, who missed the final three games before the break with a lower-body injury, didn't skate either Thursday or Friday, and Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said he'll have to wait until Saturday to see if the two-time Norris Trophy winner will be able to play against the Coyotes.
The Sharks went 1-2 in the three games Karlsson missed before the break, allowing 18 goals.
Karlsson participated in the skills competition and All-Star Game last weekend at San Jose's SAP Center, but took things easy.
Meanwhile, the Sharks expect to have center Joe Thornton in the lineup.
The 39-year-old dealt with an infection in his surgically repaired right knee early in the season, and DeBoer revealed Thursday that Thornton later suffered a broken toe.
"Every time he seems to be turning a corner and putting that stuff behind him, it's something else," DeBoer said of Thornton. "He plays through all of this stuff, but the guy hasn't been healthy."
The Coyotes open the unofficial second half of the season with a three-game trip to San Jose, Dallas and Nashville, teams that are all currently in playoff positioning. Arizona is two points out of the playoff chase with 32 games remaining.
"We've got 14 games in 28 days," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "For us, it's the elements of our identity -- the hard work and the details. To sustain where we're at, that identity has to be our focus every night because this month is really tough on us. We're going to need everybody, like we've been preaching for the last month ... because you could have two bad weeks and you could be out of it. So, you've got to have your antennas up, obviously."
Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse said the players were excited to be back on the ice and know what's ahead.
"I've been watching games the past couple of days and you can just tell by watching on TV that the pace is really ramped up," Crouse said, according to NHL.com. "The second part of the season, the part after the All-Star break, teams really start battling because they want to make the playoffs. Teams are doing whatever they can to put themselves into good position, so everything needs to ramp up. We all know that in here. It's all about determination, and focus, and that integrity to be the best player that you can be and to be a good teammate. We've just got to keep working as a team and growing as a team."
Defenseman Oliver-Ekman Larsson, who missed the Coyotes' last game before the break because of a lower-body injury, skated Thursday and is considered day-to-day.
"He's still sore, but he went through a 50-minute practice and I thought he skated well," Tocchet said. "He was trying to push it. We were a little nervous last week, but we're starting to get some good news with it. Whether he plays (Saturday), I'm not quite sure yet. We want him to play, but we don't want to put him in harm's way."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 1, 2019
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