Tonight's Phoenix Coyotes game against the San Jose Sharks wasn't nearly as exciting as the previous game against the Nashville Predators but I doubt anyone was expecting it to be.
[Complete Coverage] - [San Jose Reaction]
[Event Summary] - [Play-by-Play] - [TOI Report] - [Faceoff Report]
The Phoenix Coyotes played a very good road game, they scored first and they kept their defensive lapses and penalties to a minimum but unfortunately their inability to maintain a lead ultimately led to a loss in the shootout against the San Jose Sharks. The Coyotes struck first with a goal from Boyd Gordon but San Jose was able to tie it up in the second after a costly high sticking double minor for Rob Klinkhammer. Radim Vrbata struck back in the third to give the Coyotes the lead again, but again San Jose tied it up with a goal from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. And although the Coyotes came close after that, and had a bit of momentum going into overtime, the game was ultimately decided in the shootout with Logan Couture scoring the lone goal, giving the Phoenix Coyotes another loss and moving them further from a playoff spot.
- Keith Yandle played his 400th NHL game.
- Paul Bissonnette and Lauri Korpikoski were scratches. Mike Smith is still on the IR
- The Phoenix Coyotes did not have a power play during regulation, with the first San Jose penalty coming with 12.6 seconds left in overtime
- Jason LaBarbera allowed a lot of rebounds but neither of the Sharks goals were off a rebound
- Niemi came into this game riding a 2 game shutout streak before being scored on 14:43 into the first period
- Rob Klinkhammer's double minor for high sticking was the Coyotes lone penalty of the game
Five For Winning:
1. Score first. The Coyotes did that against Nashville and things seemed to work out okay. They should try that again. The Coyotes managed to do this but it didn't help them all that much
2. Discipline. Penalties have been a problem for the Coyotes this season, a cross checking call against Antoine Vermette contributed to them losing the game and despite leading the Predators for the entire game the Coyotes took 5 penalties in Nashville. Hopefully the team has learned to stay out of the box. The Coyotes took one penalty, unfortunately due to blood it was a double minor.
3. Keep it in regulation. At this point the Coyotes can not give afford to give any team points, especially teams that are currently ahead of them. Nope.
4. Special teams. The Yotes' power play unit was good against Nashville scoring on one of their three chances and the penalty kill was perfect not letting Nashville score. Hopefully that trend can continue. The power play unit didn't have an opportunity to play except for 12.6 seconds of overtime, unfortunately the penalty kill did allow one goal, but they were solid for the first 2 minutes of the double minor.
5. Tighten up the defense. Say what you will about the Coyotes 7-4 victory but it wasn't the Coyotes best defensive showing. The team needs to sure up their defense and keep the Sharks off the scoreboard, unless they plan on scoring 5 goals in the first period every game. Defense was fairly solid, and there weren't many lapses, they also kept the Sharks to 2 in regulation.
Our 3 Stars:
1. Radim Vrbata. Vrbata's goal and 4 shots were very impressive, I just wish he had been able to net one in the shootout.
2. Joe Pavelski. Pavelski scored on the Sharks lone power play and he was the only player to have 2 points.
3. Jason LaBarbera. Despite giving up some juicy rebounds Barbs made some unbelievable saves and played well in the shootout.
Comment of the Night:
Poetry. Pulitzer material.
At this point it seems that a playoff spot is very unlikely so the Coyotes are likely going to be making some trades in the days leading up to the trade deadline. As for the actual hockey the team will be heading back home to play the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.