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Coyotes Finally Beat Sharks and Clinch Playoff Birth

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[Box Score] - [Game Page] - [San Jose Reaction]

 

The Phoenix Coyotes for the second time this season took a three goal lead over the San Jose Sharks.  This time, unlike the game in San Jose, the Desert Dogs hung on for a victory.  With their 4-3 win the Coyotes not only defeated the Sharks for the first time in nine games, they also clinched a birth in the 2010-11 Stanley Cup playoffs.  The win also snapped Phoenix's eight game losing streak versus San Jose.

The Coyotes started the game with two succesive power players that at times looked more like penalty kills.  However, the power play would be what would ultimately win the the game for the Yotes.  Shane Doan's power play goal at the 8:22 mark of the third period would prove to be the game winner. The Coyotes started off the scoring in the 1st period with a goal by 4th line center Andrew Ebbett.  Ebbett was helped by Paul Bissonnette clearing the way with a crushing hit on Douglas Murray that led to a Sharks turnover to Kyle Turris whi then passed it to Ebbet for the goal. 

Ian White then tied it up early in the 2nd period with a shot from the point that it looked like Ilya Bryzgalov struggled to see.  The home team repsonded with a goal by Ray Whitney.  2 minutes later Joe Thornton hit the post.  The puck proceeded to take a fortunate bounce for the Yotes as the rebound led to a odd man break and a Radim Vrbata goal.  The Coyotes took a 3-1 lead into the locker room when the 2nd period ended. 

The third period consisted of Doan's aforementioned goal and a lot of nervous moments for Coyotes fans as the Sharks game back with goals by Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley to make it a bit of nail biter in the end.  However, Bryz proceeded to deny any attempts that made it through a variety of bodies in front of him during the last 3 minutes of the game.  Ray Whitney missed an empty net chance with about 14 seconds to go in the game, but in the end the home team didn't need it.

 

Bullet Points

  • With his 3rd period PP goal, Shane Doan became a 20 goal scorer again. 
  • While Doan's goal was a nice one, the PP still looks to be a potential liability in the postseason. 
  • Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov looked like the steadier hand in last night's goaltender battle.  His play late against a barrage of shots from a talented Sharks squad showed again why he is the unquestionable MVP for the Desert Dogs.
  • Older guys around the NHL like Teemu Selanne and Mike Knuble have been on fire as their teams push towards the playoffs.  The Coyotes senior citizen, Ray Whitney, looks like he too is primed for the playoffs as well.  No player on either team had more jump in their skates than the Wizard last night.
  • Great to see #11 back on the ice.  His presence should make the Coyotes a much more dangerous team come the postseason.
  • The Coyotes 4th line brought much needed energy in the 1st period after the Yotes struggled on the PP. 
  • One could argue that Eric Belanger should have been one of the stars of the game.  He had two assists, won 69% of his draws, and wasn't on the ice for any of the Sharks three goals.

Game Highlights: