It took some extra hockey, but the Arizona Coyotes hung on for the victory against the San Jose Sharks, winning 4-3 on Antoine Vermette's shootout winner. The Coyotes hand San Jose their third consecutive loss while halting a losing streak of their own and inching closer to .500 on the season.
Arizona got the scoring off to a nice start. Both first period goals were beauties in their own way. After fanning on the one-timer, Mikkel Boedker chased his miss down to the boards and smackd it to Shane Doan, who found Vermette waiting in the low slot. From there, Vermette snuck it five-hole underneath Antti Niemi. Niemi stopped 22 of 25 for San Jose.
The second goal was a beautiful play in transition. After causing the neutral zone turnover, Lauri Korpikoski led the Coyotes breakout. Boedker found the straggling David Schlemko all alone in the high slot, and he beat Niemi with a well-placed wrister. It was his first of the season and ends a significant drought for the Coyotes defenseman:
First goal for Schlemko since Oct.26, 2013. Snaps a 46-game goalless streak.— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) November 23, 2014
The second period was a drastic shift in momentum. It started with a deflating power play opportunity for Arizona. First, Boedker had a wide open look at an empty net, but fanned at the shot. It would come back to bite the Coyotes. Later in that same shift, Oliver Ekman-Larsson loses a board battle to Barclay Goodrow, who led the 3-on-1 charge for San Jose and found Tommy Wingels to make it a 2-1 hockey game.
From there, the rest of the period saw Arizona hang on by the skin of their teeth. Throughout the course of the second frame, Devan Dubnyk made a couple stellar saves as part of a great game all things considered. The Coyotes goalie stopped 40 of 43 shots in the winning effort. But he also had some momentary lapses in this period that, fortunately for the Coyotes, didn't hit home. Dubnyk mishandled a puck behind the net for one, but the Sharks skater lost his footing chasing the loose puck. The other saw San Jose's Brent Burns over-elevate a wide open net.
The luck wouldn't last forever, however. With two minutes left in the period, Andrew Desjardins fielded a juicy rebound off a Tyler Kennedy shot and slapped it home to tie the game up. It set the stage for a dramatic final period.
All it took was 52 seconds of third period action for the Coyotes to make it 3-2. Sam Gagner was stuffed by Niemi, but Shane Doan was there to shove the rebound home. That line, along with Tobias Rieder, was solid all night long, generating the most consistent pressure of all the Coyotes forward groups.
Later in the period, noted Coyote killer Joe Pavelski deflected a Brent Burns slapshot for the tying tally, and it would stay that way until overtime.
There was plenty of action in the ensuing five minutes; Connor Murphy had a quality look that hit the post, Rieder had a breakaway attempt thwarted by a backchecking Sharks defender and Ekman-Larsson saved a potential goal. But it was all for naught, as the game went to the shootout where Vermette scored the only goal to win the game for the Coyotes.
All in all, it was a solid team win for the Arizona Coyotes. Very few players didn't have a good moment in this game. As badly as the Coyotes were outshot and outplayed at times, they took great advantage of their opportunities and were able to shake off some San Jose momentum. If this sort of play continues, Arizona could put some wins together and inch closer and closer to playoff contention. But first, let's see them get back to .500.
- San Jose's perspective: Fear The Fin
- Pavelski's goal was the 200th of his career, and his 39th point in 46 career games against the Coyotes.
- In his six starts, Dubnyk has yet to lose in regulation this season (5-0-1).
- The Coyotes were grossly outshot in every period: 7-11, 6-14, 6-13.
- After failing to score a power play goal in four straight games, Arizona has notched a power play goal in five of their last six.
- Since being called up after being waived, David Schlemko has two points in two games.
- Coyotes scratches: Klinkhammer, Summers, Hanzal
1. Antoine Vermette - The first power play goal and the shootout winner.
2. Shane Doan - Goal and assist
3. Devan Dubnyk - 40 saves in a winning effort.
Less than 24 hours after Saturday's game is finished, the Coyotes travel to Anaheim for a 6 p.m. game against the Ducks.