Sharks hope to get on track versus Coyotes

( - It's been a rough month for the San Jose Sharks, but the club is hoping to pick up a second win in February when they visit the Arizona Coyotes for Friday's Pacific Division battle.

The Sharks ended January on a three-game winning streak before dropping five of six outings (1-3-2) to begin the new month. San Jose is still second in the Pacific with 64 points, but Calgary and Vancouver are just one point behind in third place.

San Jose's lone victory this month came in a 5-1 rout of the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 5, but Todd McLellan's club is 0-2-1 since and is coming off Wednesday's home setback against the Washington Capitals.

Joel Ward won the game for the Capitals in overtime, beating Antti Niemi from the front of the crease after the Sharks goaltender stopped Mike Green's backhand attempt.

San Jose held a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of play, but Washington pulled in front after scoring twice in a span of just over two minutes in the third period. However, after John Carlson made it a 4-3 game with 6:34 left in regulation, Joe Thornton would even the score for San Jose just 63 seconds later.

Brent Burns scored twice in the loss, while Logan Couture provided the other goal for the Sharks. Niemi stopped 28-of-33 shots as Washington won for only the third time in the last 21 meetings against San Jose.

"It's really disappointing that we didn't get the win after that effort," McLellan said.

The Sharks were without defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic (upper body) for a third consecutive game and he is questionable for tonight.

San Jose is 1-0-1 in two meetings with the Coyotes this season and has earned at least a point in the last six encounters (4-0-2) in this series. The Sharks also have claimed three in a row and four of their past five in the desert.

Arizona is well outside the conference playoff picture and has lost three of its last four games.

After winning a shootout decision in Chicago on Monday, the Coyotes failed to gain a point the following night at St. Louis. The Coyotes scored 4:42 into Tuesday's game, but that would be their only goal in a 2-1 setback at Scottrade Center.

Sam Gagner scored for the Coyotes, while Mike Smith was saddled with the loss despite stopping 34-of-36 shots.

"You can tell fatigue was a little bit of a factor there, but that being said I thought our third period was our best period. We kept pushing," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

Tippett's club takes aim at its first home win in over a month tonight. The Coyotes are just 9-13-4 as the host this season and have lost five straight at Gila River Arena since downing Winnipeg on Jan. 8.

In other news, Coyotes general manager Don Maloney announced Thursday that center Martin Hanzal will undergo back surgery and is expected to miss remainder of the 2014-15 season. Hanzal, who has been sidelined since Jan. 29, has recorded eight goals and 16 assists over 37 games this season.