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Phoenix Coyotes at San Jose Sharks Recap: Too Many Hertls to Clear

A lifeless opening 20 minutes doomed the Coyotes during a disappointing road opener in San Jose.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Going on the road and trying to win in the Shark Tank is a difficult task. It becomes nearly impossible when conceding a goal in the opening minute.

The San Jose Sharks would take advantage of a bad Coyote line change during the opening shift. Rookie Tomas Hertl would get behind the Phoenix defenders and beat Mike Smith with a backhand through the five hole 46 seconds into the game.  It was the 19-year-old's first NHL goal but he wasn't done on the evening.

Following an unnecessary holding penalty by Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Sharks powerplay would go to work and Hertl would redirect a shot from Matt Irwin past Smith's glove for his second of the night at 7:23.

The Sharks would continue to dominate the opening period, adding another powerplay marker following an obvious high stick from Kyle Chipchura.  After a scrum in front of the net, Patrick Marleau would tap the puck into a wide open net, giving the Sharks a 3-0 lead with 7:30 left in the 1st period.

The Phoenix Coyotes came out flat and it showed as they had almost no zone time during the first 20 minutes and were outshot 18-8 in the 1st.  It was almost as if the Sharks combined themselves with some kind of massive weather event.  If only there was some word to describe it.

The second period would produce much of the same.  The Coyotes would go 11:24 seconds between shots, at one point during the period, giving up eight shots to San Jose in that time.  It was beginning to look like an easy night for San Jose until Oliver Ekman-Larsson broke down the right wing and put a wrist shot past Antti Niemi with 3:13 to go in the second to cut the lead to 3-1.

Phoenix would play better in the 3rd period and thanks to phenomenal goaltending from Mike Smith would keep themselves in the game.  However, the Sharks defense would hold strong as every time the Coyotes would start to get some momentum in the offensive zone, they found very little room to shoot.  Trying to cut the deficit, Mike Smith would be pulled with 1:50 to go in the third, but the Yotes couldn't get anything on net and Logan Couture would put the nail in the coffin with an empty net goal at 19:35 to make the final score 4-1.

Paw Prints

  • After going 0-for-8 on the powerplay in their opening game against the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose would score on their first two man advantages tonight.  The ended up 2 for 4 on the evening.  The Coyotes were 0-for-1.
  • The Sharks dominated the majority of the game, outshooting the Coyotes 51-23.  The most shots the Coyotes had in a period was nine while San Jose's lowest total was 16.
  • The Coyotes would win 15-of-24 3rd period faceoffs and won the night by going 43-for-82 overall.  Antonie Vermette had another strong night in the dots winning 20-of-31.  Martin Hanzal won 10-of-19 faceoffs and Mike Ribeiro was even on the night, winning 8-of-16.
  • The Coyotes played the entire 3rd period with only five defensemen as Derek Morris suffered an upper body injury.  Keith Yandle played 24:46 to lead the Coyotes in ice time.

Our Three Stars

  1. Mike Smith - Stopped 47 of the 50 shots he faced and kept the Coyotes in a game that could have been a blowout.  He probably would want the first goal of the night back, but there was nothing he could do on the 2 powerplay goals.
  2. Tomas Hertl - Scored his first two career NHL goals.  His size caused problems for the Coyotes all night long in both ends of the ice.
  3. Patrick Marleau - Another big game for a qualified Coyote killer.  He had a powerplay tally and led the Sharks attack with 8 shots on goal.

Comment of the Night

at least ASU Hockey won

I need a drink and i have no booze

About sums up what was a forgettable Saturday night game.

Looking Ahead

The Coyotes' longest road trip of the year continues across the country on Long Island as they take on the New York Islanders.  Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 pm Arizona time.  The game will be on 92.3 KTAR for radio and televised on CW6.