Sharks 4, Coyotes 0
The San Jose Sharks have been one of the NHL’s best teams at
home so they should be in good playoff position with their next
four games at the Shark Tank.
Heading back to the Bay Area after a key road victory should
make them feel even more comfortable.
Antti Niemi stopped 35 shots for his fourth shutout of the
season, Tommy Wingels had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose
Sharks raced past Phoenix in the second period to beat the Coyotes
4-0 on Monday night.
Needing a win after a rough week that included three road games,
the Sharks withstood an early push by Phoenix and overwhelmed the
Coyotes to move within a point of Los Angeles for fourth place in
the Western Conference.
”A 4-0 win in a building we haven’t had a lot of success in
lately, it was a good way to end it,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan
San Jose outshot Phoenix 24-7 in the second, going up 3-0 on
goals by Wingels, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski.
Niemi made some tough saves early and was steady after the
Sharks took the lead to earn his 23rd career NHL shutout. Matt
Irwin scored a late power-play goal.
That gives San Jose a little extra cushion before playing four
of its final six at home, starting Tuesday against Los Angeles.
”We have a big game against LA … and we’re looking forward to
that one, so it’s good to get this one,” Couture said.
The Coyotes have some work to do for a fourth-straight playoff
appearance after failing to make up ground with the season winding
Phoenix was sharp early, creating several good scoring chances,
but had no answer for the speedy Sharks in the second period,
dimming its playoff hopes.
Jason LaBarbera stopped 37 shots for Phoenix, which was shut out
for the seventh time this season to remain 11th in the West, four
points out of the final playoff spot with six games left.
”What frustrates me is when you have situations when you don’t
think we’re playing as well as we can,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett
said. ”We don’t have enough players impacting the outcome of the
game in a positive way. We’ve got too many players that are just
taking up a spot right now.”
These two Pacific Division rivals came in needing not just one
win, but several in the final two weeks of the season.
The Sharks put themselves in good position for a playoff spot
with a seven-game winning streak, but followed by losing three of
four, putting them just two points ahead of the West’s final
The Coyotes had earned a point in eight of their previous nine
games (5-1-3), but were still 11th. Phoenix lost a big chance to
gain ground in its previous game, losing in overtime to struggling
The Coyotes had good pressure against San Jose in the first
period, creating numerous quality scoring chances.
Mikkel Boedker missed on one when his shot from the crease hit
the crossbar. Another drive by David Moss was turned away by Niemi,
who nearly did the splits to make a pad save.
LaBarbera, starting after Mike Smith sustained a lower body
injury and couldn’t go, made a similar leg-splitting move in the
closing seconds of the first period to stop Couture on a
The Sharks swarmed the Coyotes in the second period and scored
midway through, when Couture one-timed a rebound of a shot by Jason
Demers. Couture got the shot past Oliver Ekman-Larsson in front
after the Coyotes defenseman lost his stick and couldn’t block the
Wingels scored 2 1-2 minutes later on a backhander after Phoenix
won a faceoff in its zone, lifting a shot off the post and over
LaBarbera’s stick shoulder.
Pavelski put the Sharks up 3-0 late in the period, whipping a
wrister from the right faceoff dot past LaBarbera’s glove side.
”The first period, we created some good looks, but didn’t want
to shoot, wanted to get a little bit cute,” McLellan said of the
Sharks’ shift in intensity in the second. ”In the second period,
we decided we wanted to forecheck and use our size, and it worked
Phoenix tried to pick up the pressure, creating several good
scoring chances while sending 16 shots at Niemi. He wouldn’t let
anything past, and Irwin sealed it with just over a minute left by
scoring on a shot LaBarbera had trouble seeing with Couture camped
out in front.
The loss put the Coyotes in a tough spot with four of their
final six games on the road.
”We came out in the first period with a pretty good effort and
kind of had the game under control,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan
said. ”Then in the second period, they ramped up their intensity
and we didn’t match it, and unfortunately they beat us.”
NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game for the
victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. National anthem singer
Patrick Lauder also seemed to hold the note a beat or two longer on
the ”land of the free” verse. Coyotes D Keith Yandle had ”Pray
for Boston” written on his skate. … LW Raffi Torres returned to
Phoenix for the first time since being traded to San Jose on April
3, and landed some big hits on former teammates. He had an assist
on Pavelski’s goal and was called for a penalty in the first period
for throwing an elbow at Yandle after the defenseman slashed