Jets-Sharks Preview

With Logan Couture back on the ice, the San Jose Sharks moved a little closer to shedding the label of league's worst home team.

The Sharks will next try to earn back-to-back wins on their own ice for the first time all season by adding to the Winnipeg Jets' road woes Saturday night.

Couture had two assists in just his sixth game of the season Wednesday, and the second led to Brent Burns' tying goal in the third period of a 4-2 win over Philadelphia. Joe Pavelski tallied the go-ahead goal with 6:15 remaining and scored on a late power play.

"Obviously, now that's the template that we need to copy and play with," said Pavelski, who has seven goals in the last seven games along with five assists. "... We need to bring that energy again."

Couture, a 20-goal scorer in each of the last five seasons, returned after missing seven games with a lower-body injury and sat out 23 earlier this season with a fractured right tibia. His two points were part of a 3-for-6 night by the Sharks' power play.

"It's nice to have (Couture) out there," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Obviously, he's still getting the rust off. He's a very good player and helped us a lot tonight."

San Jose (18-16-2) ended a season-high, four-game home losing streak. The Sharks are 5-10-0 on home ice, five points shy of the league's next-worst home team.

''We've been playing good, we just haven't been winning at home,'' said center Joe Thornton, who has a seven-game point streak. ''It's nice to finally see all this hard work paying off at home."

In the third of five straight home games, San Jose will face a team that's 1-11-1 in its last 13 road games and has lost the last six. The Jets franchise hasn't had a longer road losing streak since an 0-6-2 stretch Dec. 16, 2009-Jan. 5, 2010.

Winnipeg (17-18-2) opened a five-game trip with a 4-2 loss in Arizona on Thursday. Rookie Connor Hellebuyck allowed three goals on 20 shots after giving up one on a combined 64 shots in back-to-back wins.

The Jets outshot the Coyotes 37-21 but gave up two power-play goals in the third period that made the difference, though coach Paul Maurice didn't like the penalty calls.

''You can't take the penalties that we took. You just can't," Maurice said. "You can complain about the calls all you want. But if you expect consistency and quality, you aren't coming to the game we play.''

Winnipeg has been short-handed a league-high 141 times and has the NHL's worst penalty kill since Nov. 12 at 71.8 percent, letting opponents go 9 of 30 in the last eight games. The Jets are 1 for 23 on the power play in that span and 3 for 45 in their past 15 road games.

The Sharks' special teams, meanwhile, have shined of late. They're 9 for 23 with a man advantage in their last six games and have not allowed a power-play goal in eight of nine.

San Jose went 1 for 18 on the power play against Winnipeg last season but won two of three meetings. The Jets were 4 for 8.

Pavelski has three goals and five assists in a six-game point streak against the Jets.

Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd has six goals and three assists in his last nine games in the series. Blake Wheeler has three goals and four assists in his past four.


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