Arizona (31-35-5) at San Jose (28-37-8)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Jose, CA
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 4:00 pm EDT Sun Apr 6, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Things have changed a lot in one year for the Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.

Last season, the Sharks topped the Coyotes in five games in the Western Conference quarterfinals before falling to Colorado in the second round.

As they close out the current campaign, however, the Coyotes are finishing at least 15 points out of playoff spot while the Sharks will finish in last place in the Pacific Division.

While both teams have had their share of personnel changes, the Sharks have had undergone the more significant overhaul, including the firing of coach Darryl Sutter on Dec. 1, the trade of captain Owen Nolan to the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 5 and the firing of general manager Dean Lombardi on March 18.

“This team has basically underperformed in a very big way this year,” Sharks owner Gregg Jamison said after the firing of Lombardi. “We decided it was time to take a fresh start.”

The Sharks have just one win their last seven games (1-3-2-1), cementing their first last-place finish since 1996-97.

San Jose is coming off a 3-3 tie with the playoff-bound Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. Teemu Selanne scored his second goal of the game with 41 seconds left in regulation to earn the point for the Sharks.

The Coyotes are missing the playoffs for the second time in three years after five straight postseason appearances. Phoenix also made some major changes late in the season, particularly the trade of underachieving star Tony Amonte to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Phoenix’s biggest problem this season was the health of starting goalie Sean Burke, who played just 21 games due to various injuries.

On Friday, Burke made 24 saves in his first action since March 20, and Branko Radivojevic scored with 2:58 left as the Coyotes snapped a seven-game winless streak by beating the Nashville Predators 1-0.

STANDINGS: Coyotes - 77 points, 3rd place, 32 PB, Pacific Division. Sharks - 72 points, 5th place, 37 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Mike Johnson, 23 goals, 39 assists and 62 points; Brad Ference, 146 PIM. Sharks - Selanne, Patrick Marleau and Marco Sturm, 28 goals; Vincent Damphousse, 38 assists; Selanne, 64 points; Todd Harvey, 74 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 4): Coyotes - Power play: 14.1 percent (54 for 383), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (331 for 406), 27th. Sharks - Power play: 17.9 percent (66 for 369), 9th. Penalty killing: 81.2 percent (289 for 356), 18th.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Burke (12-6-1, 2 SO, 2.08 GAA); Zac Bierk (4-9-1, 1, 2.17). Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov (19-28-7, 3, 2.71); Miikka Kiprusoff (5-14-0, 1, 3.25).

SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 3-0.

LAST MEETING: March 8; Coyotes, 6-4. At Phoenix, Ladislav Nagy scored twice and Shane Doan added a goal and three assists as the Coyotes rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 14-19-4-3 on the road; Sharks - 17-16-4-3 at home.

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