Monday's loss was the third in the last four games (1-2-1) for a Coyotes team fighting for a chance to make the playoffs.
Those playoff chances got even bleaker as another regulation loss keeps the Coyotes in 11th place in the West and four points behind a playoff spot.
To add injury to insult, starting goaltender Mike Smith was unable to dress for the game with a lower-body injury he tweaked earlier in the day.
The Coyotes played well in the first period but were unable to carry any consistency over to future periods. The second period however, which has been very kind to the Coyotes as of late, was disastrous as San Jose scored three goals and took the game over.
"They ramped their intensity up and we didn't match it," Coyotes Captain Shane Doan said.
After the game, Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett focused on players making an impact. "We are looking for some players to make a positive impact on the game."
On whether Monday's loss would cause some player to give up on the upcoming road trip, Doan said that it wouldn't but, "If you're going to give up, then I don't want you on my team."
Like Doan, Tippett does not believe the players are giving up. "We have a lot of players that are trying hard, but we need some players to make a positive impact on the game; not just be in a sweater."
Monday's game also marked the return of Raffi Torres, the ex-Coyote who was traded at this season's trade deadline for a 3rd round draft pick.
Just minutes into the game, Torres was sent to the box for elbowing Keith Yandle. Welcome back. The cylinders of metal surrounding the net once again prevented the Yotes from scoring. Friday the post claimed Oliver Ekman-Larsson as a victim (twice), Monday's first period victim was Mikkel Boedker.
The Sharks stuck first in the second period after Ekman-Larsson's stick broke and he was unable to block Logan Couture's shot after LaBarbera's made the initial save on Jason Demers. San Jose was not done as Tommy Wingels scored to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead. Wingels was the first player to the puck after the Coyotes won the face-off. He took what appeared to be a golf swing on his backhand and the puck somehow found its way behind LaBarbera. The rout was on after Joe Pavelski ripped a wrister high-glove past LaBarbera to take a 3-0 lead.
The third period was not kind to the Yotes as they failed to cut into San Jose's lead. A late power play goal by Matt Irwin pushed the Sharks' lead to four and ended an all-around poor night for the Coyotes.
- Keith Yandle came onto the ice with the words "pray for Boston" written on his skates. Yandle is from Milton, Mass.
- Torres had an assist in his return to Glendale.
- Coyotes were out shot in the second period 23-7.
- The 23 second period shots allowed was a team-high for a single period.
- Martin Hanzal led all players with 10 hits in the game.
Five For Winning
1. Stop Giving Up Late Goals. All three of Calgary's goals in the last game came in the last two minutes of the period. That absolutely cannot happen. Late goals were not a issue for Phoenix, everything else was.
2. Get in Front. Antti Niemi is one of the best lateral goalies in the NHL today. The easiest way to beat him is ensure he never sees the puck. The Coyotes were unable to solve Niemi and did not generate many quality scoring chances.
3. Keep the Penalty Box Empty. The Coyotes did a pretty good job of staying out of the penalty box against the Flames. The easiest way for the penalty kill unit to finish the game with a clean sheet is for them to not have to hit the ice. The Coyotes were fairly disciplined as they gave San Jose just two power plays. Unfortuantly for Phoenix, they were only ½ on the PK.
4. Keep the Crease Clear. Mike Smith has played extremely well recently, but he needs as much help as possible. If the Coyotes can clear out any rebounds he might give up, Smitty should be able to take care of the rest. Smith was unable to play on the game, and even though it was not LaBarbera's best night, he was beaten by solid wrist shots as opposed to gritty goals.
5. Two Points. Each regular season game is pretty much an elimination game at this point. San Jose is relatively secure in the playoffs, Phoenix isn't. Play with some desperation and get two points. The Coyotes came away with absolutely nothing as their playoff window is now nearly shut.
Our Three Stars Of The Game
1. Antti Niemi: 35-save shutout. Choice is obvious.
2. Tommy Wingels: Two points, a goal and an assist for the 25-year-old forward.
3. Joe Pavelski: A goal and won 70 percent of his faceoffs.
The Coyotes will play the next three games on the road against the Central Division. The stretch will begin on Thursday in St. Louis before travelling to Chicago and Detroit. Phoenix may need to earn at least five of the six possible points to stay in the playoff race for the final two home games of the season.