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Coyotes bite back
Phoenix repays SJ with 2-1 loss
1/22/04 - by Mike Lee

The Phoenix Coyotes took a page out of the Sharks book and turned the tables on San Jose on Thursday night at HP Pavilion. The Coyotes out hustled and out played the Sharks in a grinding 2-1 win over the host Sharks, a day after San Jose knocked off Phoenix 4-2 in Arizona. Brian Boucher made 34 saves to help fend off the Sharks and snap San Jose's four-game winning streak.

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1 2 3 T
PHO 0 2 0 2
SJ 0 1 0 1
1st period - NONE
2nd period - PHX, SILLINGER (2) (TAFFE), 04:41 S.J, PRIMEAU (3) (DIMITRAKOS, HARVEY), 08:40 PHX, NAGY (20) (RADIVOJEVIC, HRDINA), 11:49
3rd period - NONE
1st period - PHX, VAANANEN, 01:52 - Holding S.J, KOROLYUK, 04:41 - Hooking PHX, GRATTON, 05:32 - Hooking PHX, HULSE, 06:24 - Holding S.J, THORNTON, 10:48 - Holding stick
2nd period - PHX, GRATTON, 13:13 - Holding stick
3rd period - S.J, MCLAREN, 13:37 - Tripping PHX, SILLINGER, 13:37 - Slashing S.J, HANNAN, 15:49 - Hi stick
  Shots Saves
PHO - Boucher 35 34
SJ - Nabokov 20 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PHO 3 14 3 20
SJ 12 8 15 35
Power Play Conversion
PHO 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Brian Boucher
Ladislav Nagy
Wayne Primeau
Boucher turned aside 12 shots in the 1st period, quelling any thoughts of another early San Jose lead. The sharks had jumped out to a 2-0 1st period lead the evening before, but the Coyotes were prepared, paying special attention on the defensive side of the puck.

San Jose missed on a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the first period after Chris Gratton and Cale Hulse were sent off for separate infractions.

Even though the Sharks go the shots on goal, Boucher made sure his team kept the game close. The Coyotes would strike in the 2nd period. In fact all the game's scoring occurred in the 2nd period, which has been the Sharks soft under belly this season.

Ladislav Nagy scored the game winner three minutes after the Sharks had tied the game at 1-1 midway through the 2nd period. Nagy poked a loose puck through Evgeni Nabokov's pads during a scrum in front of the crease.

Mike Sillinger opened the scoring with his 3rd goal of the season at the 4:41 mark of the period.

Wayne Primeau knotted things up with his 4th goal of the season after flipping the puck past Boucher off a centering pass from Niko Dimitrakos.

The Coyotes buckled down after Nagy's goal and allowed the Sharks few quality scoring chances from that point on. San Jose did throw another 15 shots Boucher's way in the final period, but two Shark penalties prevented San Jose from building any momentum.

Play of the Game
The Coyotes resiliency in the 1st period is really the reason the Sharks lost on the game. San Jose had plenty of opportunity to blow the game open in the opening period like they did on Wednesday night, but Boucher stood them up when the quality scoring chances presented themselves. Failing to capitalize on the 5-on-3 chance early in the game allowed the Coyotes to gain the confidence necessary to compete with the Sharks, who have landed knockout punches early in games.

The Turning Point
Sillinger and Nagy's goals were about as timely as they get. Phoenix only managed three shots on goal in the opening period and weathered the storm. Sillinger counters early in the 2nd with a goal that takes the wind out of San Jose's sails. As soon as the sharks are able to generate some offense, Nagy counters right away and negates Primeau's goal.

Save of the Game
Boucher held his ground on a jail break of sorts for San Jose in the 2nd period, when Nils Ekman, Alexander Korolyuk and Alyn McCauley got a bit too cute with their passing. As the three skated up ice with the puck, they made one too many passes on the sequence, allowing Boucher to regroup and snuff out the scoring chance. Ekman had Boucher dead to rights, but he elected to dish off to Korolyuk across the slot.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Where has the vaunted Sharks power play gone? San Jose hasn't converted on the power play since Korolyuk scored against Atlanta back on January 10th, an 0-for-21 stretch.

Honorable Mention
Faceoffs also continue to haunt the Sharks. San Jose won only 43% off their faceoffs on Thursday night, but they really paid the price in the 3rd period where they won only 8 of 25 draws.

"Last night was an uninspired effort, and that's not acceptable around here. We're a team that's scrapping for the eighth spot (in the playoffs). San Jose has a big lead, and the division seems out of reach. We have to make every game count if we want the games after the All-Star break to count for anything." - Coyotes goaltender Brian Boucher

"In the first period, we weren't much better than we were last night. Sometimes you go through spells and you start questioning yourself, and I think we're doing a little bit of that." - Phoenix head coach Ron Francis

They were hungry for five or six minutes in the second, and that's all it took. We have to learn a lesson that all the fancy (stuff) we built into the game last night and tonight ... will always come back to haunt you." - Sharks head coach Ron Wilson

Marco Sturm returned to the Sharks lineup after skipping Wednesday night's game to be with his wife and new born son Mason.

Primeau's goal was his first since November 11th.

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