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Coyotes, Sharks mired in losing stretches ahead of tilt

Dec 21, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Arizona Coyotes center Barrett Hayton (29) warms up before a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks feel like they are finding different ways to lose this season, and the Arizona Coyotes don’t want to give them any reason to think otherwise when the two Western Conference teams square off Tuesday in Tempe, Ariz.

The Sharks begin a two-game road trip after a 4-2 loss to the league-leading Boston Bruins on Saturday. San Jose has lost five of its last six and sits in seventh place in the Pacific Division.

Arizona has problems of its own. Mired in a five-game losing skid, the Coyotes have won just three of their last 11 games.

In the Sharks’ last game, David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins and San Jose star defenseman Erik Karlsson failed to register a point, ending his franchise-best 14-game point streak.

Karlsson is enjoying a renaissance season and leads the Sharks with 54 points (13 goals, 41 assists).

Logan Couture and Mario Ferraro scored for the Sharks, and James Reimer made 25 saves against Boston.

The game was tied 2-2 late in the second period before Boston scored two unanswered goals to break the deadlock.

“We’re going in the right direction. And the level of frustration can get very high when you lose the way we have this season,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “It’s a frustrating situation because we’ve done a lot of good things, but at the end of the day, it’s about winning and losing.”

Right winger Timo Meier is the top goal-scorer with 23 goals and 17 assists. He has scored almost half of his goals (10) on the San Jose power play.

The Sharks have been getting plenty of offense from their defensemen this season. In December, San Jose became the first team in the league to have their defensemen reach 100 points on the season.

Matt Benning and Marc-Edouard Vlasic both registered an assist against the Bruins, extending their point streaks to four games.

“We’ve lost too many games here in the last couple of years, and it’s tough, but all we can do is just move forward,” Couture said after the loss. “Tonight, we played a very good team pretty close all night, and it could have gone either way there for a while. So we’ll take the positives, have a day off tomorrow and get back to work.”

That includes a date with the Coyotes, who recently completed a four-game Eastern swing that featured losses to Tampa Bay, Florida, Philadelphia and Chicago. The losing streak came after they had won three straight.

In their most recent outing, Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel scored twice in the second period as the visiting Penguins snapped a six-game losing streak of their own with a 4-1 win Sunday.

The Penguins’ win means the Coyotes now have the longest active losing streak in the league.

Barrett Hayton scored a goal and Karel Vejmelka made 24 saves for the Coyotes.

“They had some good opportunities and capitalized,” Hayton said. “I still think we played a good hockey game, but it’s frustrating not getting the outcome we wanted.”

–Field Level Media