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Phoenix
Coyotes
38-39-5
San Jose
Sharks
44-27-11

game recap

Coyotes 5, Sharks 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

Associated Press

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Coyotes 5, Sharks 2
Phoenix Coyotes 5, San Jose Sharks 2

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - The Phoenix Coyotes' mastery of the San Jose Sharks is laughably implausible to Mike Johnson, who scored three points in his team's latest demolition of its Pacific Division rival.

The Sharks aren't chuckling, however. Unless they figure out why Phoenix owns them, they might pay for it by missing the playoffs.

Steven Reinprecht scored his tiebreaking second goal on a power play early in the third period, and the Coyotes again demonstrated their mastery over the Sharks with a 5-2 victory Thursday night.

Johnson had a third-period goal and two assists for the Coyotes, who won for the sixth time in eight games. Curtis Joseph made 27 saves as Phoenix held the Sharks scoreless in the final 44 minutes of its fifth win over San Jose in six meetings this season.

"No, it doesn't make any sense why we do so well," Johnson acknowledged. "They have a great team. Somebody (might say) they have a better team than us. There's no magic answer, or we'd be doing it against every team. By no means do we have their number, but something's working."

Oleg Kvasha also scored and Mike Comrie added an empty-netter for Phoenix, a nearly insurmountable 14 points out of a playoff spot with nine games left. But coach Wayne Gretzky's team still seems eager to spoil the postseason dreams of the Sharks, who remained in ninth place in the Western Conference, four points out of a spot.

"How do you figure it?" Gretzky asked. "There's really no way to put a finger on it, but we've had a couple of games where our goaltenders stole a couple of wins for us, and we've had other games where we played well, but I don't have an answer. All I know is that we've played pretty hard against this team."

And the Coyotes are no strangers to mysteriously one-sided rivalries, either: They've lost seven of eight to Anaheim this season.

Milan Michalek and Steve Bernier each had a first-period goal and an assist for the Sharks, who already would be in the playoff picture without such a dismal record against the Coyotes. Patience isn't quite running short in San Jose, but the players are aware they're running out of chances to save their disappointing season.

The Sharks have 10 games left to make up playoff ground on the three teams - Anaheim, Vancouver and Edmonton - occupying sixth place in the conference directly above them.

Alas, two of those games are against Phoenix, including Saturday night's rematch in San Jose.

"They always play us hard," captain Patrick Marleau said. "They haven't taken any games off against us, and it's obvious that we have."

The Sharks returned quickly from a five-game trip with a dismal effort - and they got a scare when Jonathan Cheechoo left the ice limping in the third period after getting hit in the thigh with a slap shot during a San Jose power play. Cheechoo, who already set the franchise record with 45 goals this season, briefly returned later in the period.

Evgeni Nabokov was shaky again, stopping 23 shots in just his third start in 12 games for the Sharks, who rested Vesa Toskala. San Jose's defense made mistakes at critical times, and Phoenix capitalized.

"They were really important points tonight, and we let them slip away," defenseman Scott Hannan said. "We've got to come out with more intensity from the first shift. I haven't played the way I need to play, and I have to step it up."

Up 2-1 in the second period, San Jose couldn't cash in on a two-man advantage. Moments later, Reinprecht capitalized on a turnover for his 17th goal.

"We looked like we didn't have much energy tonight," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said of his club, which played at Columbus on Tuesday night. "As the game wore on, they maintained their energy, and ours had been sapped about halfway through the game."

Reinprecht - a burgeoning star after joining the club in a trade with Calgary last month - struck again in the third, roofing a backhand off a cross-ice pass from Shane Doan. Johnson added his goal midway through the third, stealing Joe Thornton's pass and skating the length of the ice to beat Nabokov.

Notes: Reinprecht has 11 points in his last six games. ... Sharks C Alyn McCauley sat out with an undisclosed lower-body injury, ending his streak of consecutive games played at 169. ... San Jose's Scott Thornton and Phoenix's Josh Gratton fought after Bernier's goal, with both landing several haymakers.

scoring summary
1st Period
12:26
SJS
Milan Michalek (16) ASST: Steve Bernier (10)
1 - 0 SJS
13:55
PHX
Oleg Kvasha (13) ASST: Mike Johnson (33)
1 - 1 Tie
15:56
SJS
Steve Bernier (11) ASST: Milan Michalek (18), Patrick Marleau (47)
2 - 1 SJS
2nd Period
13:33
PHX
Steve Reinprecht (17) ASST: Zbynek Michalek (13)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
01:18
PHX
PPG - Steve Reinprecht (18) ASST: Shane Doan (33), Keith Ballard (27)
3 - 2 PHX
09:57
PHX
Mike Johnson (15) ASST: NONE
4 - 2 PHX
19:29
PHX
EN - Mike Comrie (27) ASST: Oleg Kvasha (18), Mike Johnson (34)
5 - 2 PHX
penalty summary
1st Period
06:35
PHX
Mike Comrie  Tripping against  Ville Nieminen
16:01
PHX
Josh Gratton  Fighting (maj) against  Scott Thornton
16:01
SJS
Scott Thornton  Fighting (maj) against  Josh Gratton
2nd Period
05:00
PHX
Matthew Spiller  Hooking against  Milan Michalek
08:40
SJS
Scott Thornton  Hooking against  Mike Comrie
11:13
PHX
Derek Morris  Hooking against  Joe Thornton
12:34
PHX
Dennis Seidenberg  Tripping against  Jonathan Cheechoo
13:01
SJS
Nisse Ekman  Interference against  Keith Ballard
15:07
PHX
Oleg Saprykin  Hooking against  Marcel Goc
19:38
SJS
Nisse Ekman  Tripping against  Oleg Saprykin
3rd Period
02:54
SJS
Matthew Carle  Interference against  Mike Comrie
06:01
PHX
Tyson Nash  Hooking against  Patrick Marleau
09:57
PHX
Oleg Kvasha  Roughing against  Scott Thornton
09:57
SJS
Scott Thornton  Roughing against  Oleg Kvasha
goalie stats
Curtis Joseph
SA: 29TOI: 60:00
Saves: 27EV: 15 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 12 - 12
SV%: .931SH: 0 - 0
Evgeni Nabokov
Evgeni Nabokov
SA: 27TOI: 58:52
Saves: 23EV: 14 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .852SH: 3 - 3
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