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Cold Sharks find a way to tame hot Coyotes
San Jose wins for the first time in five games
11/22/17 - By Mike Lee -

It wasn't a dominant performance, but it was a win. That's all the Sharks could ask for after dropping their last three games. San Jose started a brief 2-game road trip in Glendale Arizona with a 3-1 win over the Coyotes at Gila River Arena. The Coyotes entered the game having won three straight on the road in Canada, led by the hot hand of goaltender Antti Raanta. The Coyotes fortunes turned when Raanta was forced to leave the game with an undisclosed upper body injury before the completion of the 1st period.

San Jose was just motivated to earn two points. While the Coyotes had some recent success, they also entered play with the second worst record in the NHL. The Coyotes lineup features a group of young players that are still cutting their teeth on professional hockey at the NHL level. San Jose should have won this game on paper, but it wasn't a slam dunk for the Sharks.

Arizona had a brief 5-on-3 chance in the opening period after Logan Couture was called for Goaltender interference, then Brent Burns followed him to the box for slashing 1:21 later. San Jose killed off both penalties to keep the game scoreless.

Raanta faced 9 shot before leaving for an undisclosed injury. Couture's contact on his interference penalty likely caused the injury. The Sharks forward was back skating across the top of the Coyotes crease, his back to Raanta to the entire time. Couture never touched the blue paint, but Raanta had skated to the perimeter to play a shot. That was enough to create contact, with Couture's back hitting the right side of Raanta's body. Rookie Scott Wedgewood replaced him and quickly exposed his inexperience.

San Jose jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 14:42 of the 1st period when Joe Thornton gathered a rebound from the right side and rifled it past Wedgewood for his 3rd goal of the season. Brent Burns tried putting the puck past Wedgewood from the slot, but the goaltender made the stop. The rebound deflected perfectly to the slicing Thornton who was below the right circle.

Logan Couture made it a 2-0 game 4:56 into the 2nd period when he took a feed from Joonas Donskoi on the left side before sidestepping Wedgewood at the goal mouth and depositing his 11th goal of the season. Couture raced in on net, which forced Wedgewood to commit to the left side of the net. The lack of any Arizona defense in the area also helped open the entire right side of the net for Couture.

San Jose went into prevent mode in the final 10 minutes of the game, in an attempt to preserve their lead. That allowed a crack the Coyotes would find.

Brendon Perlini cut the Sharks lead in half 12:23 into the 3rd period by tapping a Derek Stepan pass past Martin Jones from the doorstep. Stepan setup the goal with a pretty pass from the right side as Perlini sat parked even with the left post. There wasn't a Sharks defender within 10 feet of Perlini, who simply tapped in Stepan's pass for his 6th goal of the season.

Arizona pulled wedgewood with 1:50 left in regulation for the extra attacker. That helped the Sharks secure the win when Joel Ward potted an empty net goal with 48 seconds left in regulation. The goal was Ward's 4th of the season.

Only 11,214 were in attendance.

Game Notes:

* Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Justin Braun finished the game +2.

* Every Sharks player recorded a shot on goal except for forwards Timo Meier, Chris Tierney, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan. Arizona out-shot the Sharks in the game 27-25. Defenseman Kevin Connauton led all skaters with 4 shots on goal.

* The Sharks make their first trip to Las Vegas to play the Golden Knights on Friday night. The game will mark the first time the two teams play in a regular season game. The two teams did play twice in the preseason, with the Sharks taking 5-2 and 5-3 decisions.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 1 3
ARI 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 3 (Burns), 14:42.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Couture 11 (Donskoi, Braun), 4:56.
3rd period - 3. ARI, Perlini 6 (Stepan, Ekman-Larsson), 12:23. 4, SJ, Ward 4 (unassisted), 19:12, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Couture, SJ (goaltender interference), 10:49; Burns, SJ (slashing), 12:10.
2nd period - Ward, SJ (slashing), 10:20.
3rd period - Stepan, ARI (hooking), 0:39.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 27 26
ARI - Raanta 9 9
ARI - Wedgewood 15 13
ARI - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 13 6 6 25
ARI 9 10 8 27
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 1
ARI 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Martin Jones
Logan Couture
Brandon Perlini
Attendance
Gila River Arena - 11,214
Officials
Referees: Rehman, Nicholson. Linesmen: Gibbons, Cherrey.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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