By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -Lauri Korpikoski scored two goals, and five of his teammates also notched two points, to lead the Coyotes to a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks at Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night.
The win moved the Coyotes to within 10 points of first-place San Jose in the Pacific Division standings with 30 games to go.
“San Jose is one of the top teams in the conference, and this is a quality win,” Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle said. “We harped for three days in practice of being a better and more consistent team and (against San Jose), we did a great job of execution.”
After a scoreless first period, the teams erupted for five goals in the second period. Phoenix scored three times on just six shots.
Tied 2-2, Hanzal notched the game-winning goal with less than a minute left in the second period. After taking a pass from Ray Whitney on an odd-man rush, Hanzal shot the puck on net and it bounced off the stick of Sharks defender Brent Burns and past goalie Antti Niemi for his first goal since Dec. 14.
"I saw the goalie coming toward me, so I shot for the far side," Hanzal said. "It's a great feeling to score after missing so many games (because of injury)."
Korpikoski scored his second goal with 11:57 left in the game to give Phoenix a 4-2 lead.
Playing with an empty net and an extra attacker, San Jose (29-15-6) cut the deficit to 4-3 on a goal by Patrick Marleau with 33 seconds to go.
Photo by Norm Hall.
Radim Vrbata, however, iced the win for Phoenix by scoring his team-high 24th goal into an empty net with 0.6 seconds left.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett liked that nine of his 18 skaters got their names into the scoring summary.
“We’ve been talking about that all year,” Tippett said. “We’ve got to score by committee. It’s funny when you see that happen with our team, we usually have a good chance of winning. Korpikoski had a great game for us. Raffi Torres had a nice goal (see KEY MOMENT below). You like to see guys like that score.”
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith stopped 32 of 35 shots to earn his 19th win of the season.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
Trailing 1-0, Coyotes forward Raffi Torres snapped a shot from between the circles past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi at 4:16 of the second period.
Torres scored the goal, his eighth of the season, just 32 seconds after Sharks forward Logan Couture had given San Jose a 1-0 lead, and it triggered the rare comeback victory for Phoenix.
The Coyotes are just 4-17-3 in the 24 games in which they've fallen behind 1-0 this season.
• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson marked his 100th NHL game with an impressive performance. Ekman-Larsson played a team-high 22:11, took two shots on goal, delivered seven hits and blocked a team-high six shots.
• Forward Lauri Korpikoski scored two goals in an NHL game for the sixth time. What follows is the official ruling from the NHL regarding Korpikoski's second goal: "At 8:03 of the third period in the Sharks/Coyotes game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Boyd Gordon's pass deflected off Lauri Korpikoski's left shin pad and into the net. According to rule 78.4 'if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed.' Good Goal Phoenix."
• In addition to his goal and assist, center Martin Hanzal delivered a team-high eight hits and won 10 of 16 faceoffs.
• Defenseman Derek Morris returned to the lineup after missing two-plus games because of a lower-body injury. Morris played 17:27 and was plus-2.
• With less than a minute to play, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith tried to score a goal into San Jose's empty net by flinging the puck with his goalie stick nearly the length of the ice from in front of the Coyotes goal. His "shot" missed the Sharks goal by just a few feet.
• The Coyotes' next game is Monday vs. the Detroit Red Wings at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on NBC Sports Network and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"It was a big boost for us to get the late goal in the (second) period and get the lead. We hung on to it and really played a solid game."
"I definitely wasn't at my best last game... so it was big for me to come back tonight and really give the team a good effort... and give us a chance. We were able to get on the scoreboard tonight and it was nice to see."
"It wasn't lack of offense. We had a number of chances and ended up with three at the end. We were not competitive at the times we needed to be competitive."