Today was the first day that it was mandatory for all NHL goaltenders to make the switch to a new style of goalie pants. Arizona’s Mike Smith felt very strongly about making the switch to the new pants during the middle of the season, but the change of pants certainly didn’t appear to have any impact on his game tonight as his 38 saves on 40 Sharks’ shots led the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory against the Pacific leaders San Jose.
No scoring in the first period as the Sharks out-shot the Coyotes 13 to 10. Arizona finished the period with subsequent penalties, first killing a 5 on 4 advantage for San Jose which then turned into a 5 on 3 advantage. The Sharks’ power play would carry over into the second period for 13 seconds.
1-0 Arizona - On the power play, Alex Goligoski gained the zone, passed it wide to Jamie McGinn along the boards who then fed it to back to the middle where a roaring Shane Doan is rocketed down and ripped the puck in to open the scoring. Assists to McGinn and Goligoski at 12:23.
1-1 Tie - After gaining momentum from an excellent penalty kill against an awful Coyotes’ power play, the Sharks take advantage on the even-strength sequence that follows. Cycling on all cylinders and firing a flurry of shots, San Jose brings the pain only for Mike Smith to come up with save after save. Unfortunately, after one such save, Smith traps the puck underneath him but fails to control it as Brenden Dillon is allowed one to many pokes on Smith and the puck slips through the five-hole. Assists to Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture at 17:15.
2-1 San Jose - A big giveaway from Alex Burmistrov trying to make a pass into the neutral zone goes off Mikkel Boedker’s stick and stays in the Sharks’ offensive zone, falling on the end of Marleau’s stick. Marleau then dishes the puck off to Couture who shot the puck perfectly in on Smith’s blocker side. Assists to Marleau and Boedker at 2:18.
2-2 Tie - Breaking into the offensive zone, Jordan Martinook draws the Sharks’ attention before making a pass back to Ryan White and parking himself in front of the net. White then cuts into the middle of the slot and shoots the puck in through and potentially off the traffic between him and Martin Jones. Unassisted at 2:44.
The Coyotes were out-shot in a scoreless Overtime period but dominated play at even strength. They killed a huge penalty awarded to the Sharks as “tripping” by Shane Doan in a penalty that would have been more appropriately listed as interference.
Doan also set up a huge chance for Tobias Rieder after elbowing Joe Thornton in a race to the puck up the left wing, only for Martin Jones to make a fantastic glove save on his back with one pad in the air.
Brendan Perlini scored his first career shootout goal on his first attempt with a nice dangle, while Radim Vrbata sealed the deal with his 45th career shootout goal. At the other end Couture was able to score but Smith locked down Marleau and Joe Pavelski as the Coyotes win the game 3-2 after the shootout.
1. Can the Coyotes play a full game? Regardless of what the result was tonight, Arizona made it to Overtime against the Pacific Leading San Jose Sharks. The third period was most certainly the weakest period for the Coyotes’ and the Sharks’ early goal in that period definitely teased another Arizona breakdown. But the Sedona Red responded with a goal immediately after, steadied the ship and rode out the game for a full 60 minutes and beyond.
2. How will Domi play? Max Domi finished the night with a +/- of -1 and two giveaways in 13:29 of ice time, so it still seems as if he has a bit of rust on the skates. But with that said, he is looking as speedy and hungry as ever so it’s only a matter of time until the points start flowing back in.
3. Will the Coyotes mostly successful home series translate to road wins? It may be a small sample size, but yes so far it has. In the last six contests, excluding the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Coyotes have seemed like a different team to the one that has taken the ice so far this season. If Arizona keeps playing as they did tonight against one of the best teams in the West, they give themselves a chance against any team in the league.
Players of the Game
Arizona - Mike Smith - Pants or no pants, Mike Smith is a certified Shark killer and tonight was no different. Smith finished the night with an excellent .950% save percentage, saving 38 out of 40 shots across regulation and overtime before making 2 out of 3 saves in the shootout for the win.
San Jose - Patrick Marleau - Finished the night with a primary assist on each of the Sharks’ two goals, recorded 6 shots and made 3 nights. Could have won the game for San Jose if it wasn’t for some stellar saves by Arizona’s Player of the Game.
- For more on the San Jose Sharks, check out Fear the Fin.
- Josh Jooris, Peter Holland and Kevin Connauton were all healthy scratches for the Coyotes tonight.
- Congratulations to Martin Hanzal who played his 600th career NHL game tonight:
- Another reason why Martin Hanzal will be missed IF he is dealt at the deadline:
- Arizona have now beaten San Jose three out of four times this season. All occasions have been decided by only one goal and only one of the games has been decided in regulation. As a result the Coyotes now have 7 out of a potential 8 points against the Sharks.
- On the Coyotes’ shootout attempts:
.@ArizonaCoyotes went 2 for 2 in SO tonight. They are now 9 for 14 on SO attempts this season. That's a League best 64.3 percent.— Dave Vest (@davest4yotes) February 5, 2017
- San Jose are Mike Smith’s favorite team to play with a 12-7-3 record and .944 save % in 22 games against the Sharks.
Arizona now return home to host the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, in the first game of a two game home-stand. Puck drop at Gila River Arena is at 7:00pm Arizona Time and the game can also be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona or tuned into on ESPN Arizona 620 AM.