SAN JOSE – Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle scored power-play goals in the second period to help the San Jose Sharks win their season-high fourth straight game, 4-1, over the Coyotes on Thursday night at the HP Pavilion.
Coyotes winger Ray Whitney, the only active player remaining from San Jose's original 1991-92 team, scored the goal for Phoenix (15-11-7), which fell to 1-3-1 on its six-game stretch of consecutive road games.
"It hasn't been fun, it's been a tough trip but I think we have enough character and we're a good enough team to kind of get out of this," said goalie Jason LaBarbera, who made 35 saves in his fourth consecutive start. "Sometimes it's good to go through stuff like this just to build a little bit of closeness and get us back to where we need to be because we kind of lost that the last couple of weeks."
Patrick Marleau added a pair of goals in the third period for the Sharks, who are hitting their stride after an up-and-down start to the season. San Jose has moved to fourth place in the Western Conference with the four straight wins.
Antti Niemi made 24 saves for the win after watching Antero Niittymaki earn the first three victories during the streak.
Despite four power plays, a pair of two-man advantages and a decided edge in shots, the Sharks (19-11-5) trailed 1-0 midway through the second period after Whitney and Keith Yandle executed a perfect give-and-go exchange to take the lead when Whitney got behind Niclas Wallin for a power-play goal at 7:50.
Photo by Getty Images.
Phoenix's lead lasted for just 75 seconds as the Sharks converted on a power play after Shane Doan was sent off for roughing (see KEY MOMENT below).
Penalties finally began catching up to the Coyotes. With Lauri Korpikoski off for interference, Sharks forward Dany Heatley threaded a cross-ice pass to Thornton, who knocked the puck into the open net to make the score 2-1 at 11:53 of the second period.
Marleau's two goals in the third, including San Jose's third on the power play, put the game away. Thornton assisted on both goals for a three-point night.
The Coyotes committed three delay-of-game penalties in the first 21 minutes for shooting the puck over the glass, but the Sharks were unable to convert on any of the ensuing power plays.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com contributed to this recap.
Leading 1-0, Coyotes captain Shane Doan was called for roughing Sharks forward Ryan Clowe at 8:46 of the second period after stepping in to protect rookie defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson during a scrum in front of the Phoenix net.
Just 19 seconds into the power play, San Jose's Dan Boyle took a pass from Patrick Marleau at the top of the left faceoff circle, turned and beat Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera with a wrist shot to tie the score 1-1.
The penalty and the goal deflated the Coyotes and they never recovered.
"I was pretty surprised (by the call)," Doan said. "I saw Clowe trying to grab Ekman-Larsson, and obviously we're going to do our best to try and protect him. I simply just grabbed a hold of him (Clowe)."
• The Coyotes dropped to 12-2-4 in the games in which they've led 1-0.
• Winger Radim Vrbata suffered a lower-body injury during the game and played only 9:08.
• The Coyotes, who entered the game ranked third in the NHL in faceoff percentage at 52.6, won only 20 of 53 draws (38 percent).
• Defenseman Ed Jovanovski played in the 999th game of his NHL career.
• Defenseman Sami Lepisto played in the 100th game of his NHL career.
• Phoenix became the 10th team since the delay-of-game penalty was instituted to commit three infractions in one game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
• Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov missed his fourth game in a row because of an upper-body injury suffered vs. New Jersey on Dec. 15. The Coyotes are 1-2-1 in those games. Forward Taylor Pyatt missed his first game since being placed on the injured reserve list with an upper-body injury suffered vs. Pittsburgh on Dec. 20.
• The Coyotes will not play a game or practice on Friday or Saturday. The team will fly to Dallas early Sunday morning and play the Stars that night at the American Airlines Center. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on KFNN-AM (1510).
"(The Sharks) played a very strong game. They played a very heavy
game and when you take those penalties you limit your opportunities.
We hung around and found a way to get a lead but couldn't sustain it."
"They got rolling because they were on the PP
the whole time. When that happens you are playing in the other team's zone and you start feeling real good about yourself."
"We've been playing really good hockey. We might not get teams in the first period, but I think we're just grinding teams down with our size in the second and third period. We're finding our stride."