By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez GLENDALE -- San Jose's Patrick Marleau scored a goal in his 1,000th NHL game, and the Coyotes lost to the Sharks, 4-2, on Monday at Jobing.com Arena in holiday matinee matchup of Pacific Division rivals.
The defeat snapped a four-game winning streak for Phoenix (23-14-9), which didn't lose in regulation in the first eight games it played this month.
The Coyotes started the game with a couple of quality scoring chances, but it was the Sharks who took a 1-0 lead off Marleau’s 18th goal of the season 3:45 into the first period.
Phoenix answered at the 12:09 mark when Derek Morris fired a slap shot past Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi for his fourth goal of the season. Morris' shot hit the stick of San Jose defenseman and deflected into the net.
Niemi was outstanding in the final two periods and San Jose (23-19-5) pulled away. At the 4:03 mark of the period, Sharks forward Dany Heatley notched his 18th goal of the season when his backhand shot beat Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Then, with under three minutes left in the period, the Sharks built a two-goal cushion when rookie Logan Couture scored his team-high 20th goal (see KEY MOMENT below).
Oliver Ekman-Larrson celebrates his first NHL goal. Photo by Norm Hall.
The Coyotes took 12 shots on goal in the second period, including several during a four-minute power play, but Niemi stopped them all.
The big highlight for the Coyotes came at the 12:01 mark of the third period when rookie Oliver Ekman-Larsson one-timed a pass from Lauri Korpikoski past Niemi for his first NHL goal. The goal cut San Jose's lead to 3-2, but Sharks captain Joe Thornton scored an empty-net goal at 19:11 to seal the win.
“The guys were happy for him because he’s a young guy, a good guy in the locker room,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said of 19-year-old Ekman-Larsson. “…He’s kind of been around it (getting his first goal) a few times and hit a couple posts, so I think he’s been taking some pretty good ribbing in the room, so it’ll be good to get that one behind him and move on.”
Niemi stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced to pick up his 11th win of the season, while Bryzgalov, who was named the NHL's No. 3 Star of the Week a few hous before the puck dropped, stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced in the losing effort.
Leading 2-1, Sharks rookie Logan Couture scored a power-play goal with 2:41 left in the second period. With Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko in the penalty box for cross-checking, Dany Heatley passed the puck from behind the Phoenix net to Dan Boyle, who sent a perfect pass to Couture in front of the net. Couture, who leads all NHL rookies with 20 goals, slickly parlayed the pass into a goal and a 3-1 lead.
• Already minus defensemen Ed Jovanovski (lower-body injury) and Michal Rozsival (upper-body injury), the Coyotes lost defenseman David Schlemko early in the third period after he collided with San Jose's Scott Nichol. Schlemko, who appeared to take an elbow to the face, did not play after the hit. No penalty was called on the play.
• Forward Lauri Korpikoski notched an assist to extend his point streak to a career-high five games.
• Captain Shane Doan delivered a game-high eight hits.
• The Coyotes scratched Ed Jovanovski (lower-body injury), Brett MacLean and Michal Rozsival (upper-body injury). Center Vernon Fiddler missed his first game of the season because of an upper-body injury. He is on the injured-reserve list and is considered week-to-week.
• The Coyotes' next game is Tuesday vs. Nashville at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"They found ways to bury their chances. There were a couple goals you kind of want back, but they buried theirs and we didn’t bury ours and that was the difference in the game... We play them a few more times this year and we have to find ways to win those games."
"It was a great feeling. My first goal of course feels good. I got a good pass from (Lauri) Korpikoski and just one-timed it... I want to score goals and help the team."
"It goes by quick, the 1,000 games. You start thinking about all the people who helped you along the way, all the support. I look forward to many more games in the League, but I've had a lot of help to this point."