The Coyotes came home tonight hoping to continue a trend of strong play. Things started off great in that regard, but in the end, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton proved too much for the Desert Dogs to handle.
Arizona got off to an early lead thanks to the efforts of the newest member of the team. Recent waiver wire pickup Mark Arcobello scored on his first shot of his first shift with the team. He beat Antti Niemi with a wrist shot 1:42 into the game. The spark of the new blood in the lineup energized the Coyotes throughout the opening period, even after Arcobello took a holding the stick minor. The Arizona penalty kill continued its successful ways and a little while later the Coyote man advantage would keep the success rolling.
Shark defenseman Matt Tennyson was called for interference and the Yotes used up the full allotment of power play time. Keith Yandle held the puck in at the point and got the puck to Sam Gagner. Gagner would find Martin Erat for a one timer that eluded Niemi with one second left on the advantage. Erat's goal gave the Coyotes a 2-0 advantage after one period.
San Jose would take a page from the Coyote playbook and struck early in the second period to halve the lead. Mike Smith made a save on a driving Joe Thornton who got the rebound and gave it to Pavelski. Pavelski threw a puck toward the crease that deflected of off Oliver Ekman-Larsson's skate and past Smith for the Sharks' first tally. Pavelski wasn't done yet. The Sharks next took advantage of a tough roughing call on OEL. Thornton would again get control of the puck and play a little two man hockey with Logan Couture below the Coyote goal line. Couture then fed a no look pass to a wide open Pavelski to the left of Smith. Joe P would bury a wrister bar down and tie the game at two.
The game stayed tied throughout the rest of the second and to start the third before an Andrew Campbell misplay at the blueline handed San Jose a two on one. Barclay Goodrow kept the puck the whole way and beat Smith high glove to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead. The Coyotes would offer up chances throughout the third frame, but nothing strong as Niemi and the Shark defense kept the shots to the outside. Joe Pavelski sealed the deal with a spin around empty net goal from center ice for his fourth career hat trick and the 4-2 San Jose victory.
- For the San Jose perspective, check out Fear the Fin.
- Arizona outshot San Jose 35-26 on the night.
- The Coyotes went 1 for 2 with the man advantage while San Jose's power play was 1 for 3.
- Brent Burns led San Jose with 24:05 of ice time and Ekman-Larsson was the Coyote workhorse, playing 25:10.
- Arcobello played 16:46 in his Coyote debut. He scored a goal on two shots, added three hits and won 9 of 15 face offs. He wore number 36.
- Pavelski's hat trick gave him 31 goals on the season, which ranks him third in the NHL behind Rick Nash and Alex Ovechkin. Nash will be coming to Gila River Arena tomorrow night.
- Attendance: 16,713
Our Three stars of the Game
- Joe Pavelski. Duh.
- Joe Thornton. Had an assist on all three Pavelski goals and won over 64% of his draws.
- Antti Niemi. Stopped 33 shots and kept the Sharks in the game through the first period.
The Road Ahead
The Coyotes will be right back at it tomorrow night when the New York Rangers come to town. Puck drop is scheduled for 6pm Arizona time.