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Power play goals spark Sharks
Coyotes oblige with lots of penalties
12/23/10 - By Mike Lee -

The league’s sixth ranked power play got a chance to show its stuff on Thursday night as the Sharks converted on 3 of 7 power plays to knock off the visiting Phoenix Coyotes at HP Pavilion. San Jose sputtered with the 2-man advantage, but when facing four defenders, they were down right scary. Patrick Marleau also got back on track with a pair of goals to pace the Sharks.

Heading into the Christmas break, the Sharks were looking to maintain the momentum they built over the last three games. The win would give them their first four-game winning streak of the season. San Jose has been slowly chipping away at the Pacific Division lead, gaining another point on Thursday after Dallas lost in the shootout to the Calgary Flames.

“ I think we are finding more consistency within our lines," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "I think our D is more active in the offense. A lot of the things we whined and complained about in the beginning of the season are starting to come with real good timing.”

The stat of San Jose’s game was much like the start of their season. Quick out of the gate, but inconsistent enough to be a middle of the pack performer.

The Sharks blew a fantastic chance to grab the early lead after Paul Bissonnette and Ed Jovanovski took penalties 12 seconds apart. The Sharks used the lengthy 5-on-3 to work on perimeter passing, rather than throwing the puck at the net. Every pass seemed to jump over a stick or miss its mark, resulting in a squandered opportunity.

San Jose would get another two man advantage at the start of the 2nd period, albeit a shorter chance. Nonetheless, the outcome was the same. San Jose failed to take advantage of a huge opportunity.

Phoenix would parley their good fortune by showing San Jose how to score on the power play. Ironically, it came at the hands of a former Shark. The second Shark ever drafted for that matter. Ray Whitney, San Jose’s 2nd pick in the 1991 NHL entry draft deposited his 5th goal of the season off a crossing pass Keith Yandle at 7:50 of the period. Whitney sent the pass under Antti Niemi’s left pad after the pass forced the Sharks netminder to slide to his left.

The goal was Whitney’s 11th against his former team.

San Jose would follow the Coyotes lead after Shane Doan was sent off for roughing on the next shift after Whitney’s goal. Dan Boyle would light the lamp with his 5th of the season with a shot from the top of the left circle. His shot would slip past Coyotes netminder Jason Labarbera, who was screened by Dany Heatley.

Lauri Korpikoski would take an interference penalty two minutes later to put the Sharks back on the power play. San Jose would move away from the static approach that failed them during their two 5-on-3 chances, moving the puck while on the move. They would convert when Heatley sent a pass through the slot to Joe Thornton, who was breaking to the net on the left wing.

Patrick Marleau would snap an 11-game goalless streak by putting a backhand chance past Labarbera 2:53 into the 3rd period. Marleau was lurking on the right side of the slot when Thornton Whiffed on a shot that slipped past the Coyotes goaltender. The rebound kicked out to Marleau who lifted his shot over Labarbera’s left shoulder for his 12th of the season.

Marleau would get in on the power play goal scoring with his second goal of the game ten minutes later, after Derek Morris took an interference penalty. Marleau took a Thornton feed at the blueline and slipped past the Coyote defense before snapping a shot past Labarbera from just inside the right dot.

“We took some unfortunate penalties," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "Some that were bad breaks. We took three that were shot over the glass against a team that is waiting for us to commit those. They played a very strong game there. A heavy game. And when you take those penalties you limit your opportunities.”

Game Notes:

Douglas Murray returned to the lineup for the first time in five games. Murray led the team with three hits, logging 15:18 of ice time. With Murray's return, it marked the first time the opening night defensive corps were all on the ice since November 13th.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
PHO 0 1 0 1
SJ 0 2 2 4
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, PHO, Whitney 5 (Yandle, Doan), 7:52, (pp). 2, SJ, Boyle 5 (Marleau, Pavelski), 9:05, (pp). 3, SJ, Thornton 8 (Heatley, Pavelski), 11:53, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 12 (Thornton, Murray), 2:53. 5, SJ, Marleau 13 (Thornton, Demers), 12:18, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - Clowe, SJ (slashing), 8:21; Bissonnette, PHO (delay of game – puck over glass), 12:31; Jovanovski, PHO (interference), 12:43; Ferriero, SJ (slashing), 14:49; Jovanovski, PHO (delay of game – puck over glass), 19:06.
2nd period - Korpikoski, PHO (delay of game – puck over glass), 0:49; Setoguchi, SJ (holding), 6:41; Doan, PHO (roughing), 8:46; Korpikoski, PHO (interference), 11:06.
3rd period - Morris, PHO (Interference), 11:50; Stempniak, PHO (goaltender interference), 15:43.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
PHO - Labarbera 39 35
SJ - Niemi 25 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PHO 5 10 10 25
SJ 13 16 10 39
Power Play Conversion
PHO 1 of 3
SJ 3 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Joe Thornton
Joe Pavelski
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: LaRue, Rehman. Linesmen: Rody, Lazarowich.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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