Coyotes vs. Sharks preview: 1st meeting between Pacific Division rivals

Christian Petersen

With the Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks both sitting atop the rankings in 'goals for' this season, Thursday night's Pacific Division showdown has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.

The San Jose Sharks (2-0-0) will host the Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-0) in the first of five meetings between the Pacific Division foes on Thursday night.

San Jose will be entering the game looking for their third consecutive win, while Phoenix will look to win their second straight.

The Sharks started the year with a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames and then continued the high offensive output with a 6-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, where all six of the team's goals were registered in the first period. After a disappointing performance last season, Patrick Marleau has started 2013 on fire, leading the team with five points and registering two goals in both games this season.

Logan Couture (two goals, three assists) and Joe Thornton (five assists) have also registered five points this season, while Joe Pavelski has registered four (all assists).

If San Jose is able to replicate their offensive potency on Thursday night, it could prove problematic for the Coyotes.

Despite holding the Columbus Blue Jackets to a lone goal in their 5-1 victory on Wednesday, Phoenix has allowed 11 goals this season (tied for second-most in the league), which included a six-goal effort by the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Of course, it should be noted that the Coyotes have also generated 12 goals for this season (tied for third-most), so Thursday night has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.

Phoenix will likely be without goaltender Mike Smith, as he suffered a lower-body injury on Wednesday. While no official announcement has been made, Jason LaBarbera could get the start against San Jose.

The game is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m., ET and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona and CSN Bay Area.

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