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Sharks scratch out a SO win over Coyotes
Vlasic ties it late with birthday goal
3/30/13 - By Mike Lee -

It wasn't a masterpiece, but the Sharks scratched out a 3-2 shootout win over the Phoenix Coyotes at HP Pavilion on Saturday night. Trailing for most of the game, San Jose battled back to tie the game with 5 minutes left in regulation, then made a Logan Couture goal in the shoot stand up for the win. Antti Niemi made 27 saves, then stopped all three shooters he faced in the shootout to lock up his 16th win of the season.

Billed as a possession based defensive matchup, the two teams opened things up a bit more than usual, amassing 63 combined shots and a flurry of scoring chances for both sides throughout the evening.

San Jose was forced to chip away at a pair of Coyote leads after defensive lapses setup Phoenix goals.

Phoenix opened the scoring with a goal at 14:43, when Boyd Gordon swooped to the front of the Sharks net and backhand swatted a loose puck past Antti Niemi for his 2nd goal of the season. San Jose got caught watching the puck and both Joe Thornton and Andrew Desjardins stood outside the crease as Gordon skated past both of them for the three foot shot.

The goal snapped Niemi's shutout streak an 1:36:23.

The Sharks would struggle to get a shot on net early in the 2nd period. San Jose registered a single shot on Jason LaBarbera through the first 7 minutes of the period.

Rob Klinkhammer helped breathe some life into the Sharks offense by taking a 4-minute penalty for cutting Justun Braun with a high stick. San Jose spent the first 2:20 of the extended power play by circling the Coyotes net, but couldn't get any rubber on net. Joe Pavelski finally got a puck past LaBarbera with a blast from the right point that tucked under the crossbar for his 11th goal of the season. Pavelski also extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.

The Coyotes jumped on the Sharks to open the 3rd period, scoring just 33 seconds in. Radim Vrbata punched home a rebound off his own shot after the Sharks defense let him waltz in on Niemi. The Coyotes carried the puck up the right wing boards, before Shane Doan slid a pass to Vrbata in the slot after the winger slipped past a napping Tommy Wingels. The Sharks forward had the responsibility to seal off the backside as the puck circulated in the right corner, but his skates stayed planted motionless on the ice as Vrbata cruised past him en route to the net.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic celebrated his 26th birthday by tying the game up with 5 minutes left in regulation. The Sharks defenseman shot the puck on net from the right dot, then grabbed his own rebound and fed Pavelski along the end boards. With Pavelski sitting on the end line near the right corner, Vlasic cut around the back of the net, took a return feed, then slid a shot from outside the right post, deflecting it off the inside of LaBarbera's stick and into the Phoenix net.

San Jose had a pair of chances in the overtime to end things, but LaBarbera made the stops he needed to get to the shootout. Thornton whiffed on a pass deep in his zone that setup a scoring chance for Phoenix, but Niemi stopped a Steve Sullivan shot.

Antoine Vermette just missed on shot, bouncing a shot off Niemi that rolled just side of the left post.

As rumors continue to swirl around the fate of Ryane Clowe, the Sharks forward hurt his trade value in the overtime by taking a senseless tripping penalty, which looked more like a slew-foot as the Coyotes skated the puck out of their own end. Luckily for the Sharks, the penalty left little time for Phoenix to mount many offensive chances.

It did setup one though, as the Coyotes won the ensuing faceoff in the Sharks zone, which setup a shot attempt. Couture stepped up and jumped in front of a Vrbata shot right before time expired.

Couture beat LaBarbera in the shootout by racing toward the net in the shootout and snapping a shot past the Coyotes netminder. Niemi stopped Sullivan and Vrbata in succession then made the toe save on Mikkel Boedker in the final shot of the shootout.



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Scoring
1 2 3 OT SO T
PHO 1 0 1 0 0 2
SJ 0 1 1 0 1 3
1st period - 1, PHO, Gordon 2 (Klinkhammer, Moss), 14:43.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Pavelski 11 (Thornton, Marleau), 10:24, (pp).
3rd period - 3, PHO, Vrbata 7 (Doan, Schlemko), 0:33. 4, SJ, Vlasic 2 (Pavelski, Boyle), 15:00.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Couture (goal), Boyle (miss), Pavelski (miss). PHO: Sullivan (miss), Vrbata (miss), Boedker (miss).
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - Klinkhammer, PHO (high sticking - double minor), 7:59.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - Clowe, SJ (tripping), 4:47.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
PHO - Labarbera 34 32
SJ - Niemi 29 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
PHO 14 8 8 2 29
SJ 11 9 9 2 34
Power Play Conversion
PHO 0 of 1
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Jason Labarbera
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Rooney, Lee. Linesmen: Cameron, Wheler.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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