By Mary Walsh
AP photo: The San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl scores a second period goal and goes to the Sharks bench for a brief victory lap Sunday
SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks defeated the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 3-0 Sunday. James Reimer made 25 saves for the shutout. It was his second shutout in four starts for the Sharks. Sharks goals came from Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski. Brent Burns picked up an assist on Pavelski’s goal, setting a new record for most points by a Sharks defenseman in a season with 65.
The Sharks owed the Coyotes a good performance after their unimpressive loss last Thursday. The Sharks also needed a win against a non-playoff team, if for no other reason than to get one. Their recent record is littered with losses to the wrong teams, and wins against top tier opponents. This is not a problem that is likely to come up during the playoffs, but selective competing is not something the Sharks want to fall back into. For this reason, beating the Coyotes was a very good thing for the team.
Near the 14 minute mark of the first, Logan Couture blocked a shot and ended his shift a little early, but he did not leave the game. Justin Braun took the first penalty of the game, an interference penalty at 14:07. The Sharks were able to clear the puck twice in the first minute of the Coyotes power play, and allowed just one shot in that minute.
1:21 into the penalty, Patrick Marleau was called for high sticking and the Coyotes had a five on three for 39 seconds. The Sharks killed off the five on three, but had their hands full. The Coyotes added another shot before Braun came out of the box, but no more after that.
At 18:20, the Sharks took the lead with a goal from Joel Ward. He deflected Brenden Dillon’s shot from the point, a one-timer on a pass from Joonas Donskoi. Donskoi made the pass from below the blue line, for his 22nd assist of the season. It was Ward’s 20th goal of the season and Dillon’s seventh assist.
At the end of the first, the shots were 13-7 Sharks.
2:26 into the second, Brent Burn went to the box for tripping. The Sharks killed it off and finished the kill with a short-handed chance.
The Sharks had their first power play at 5:48, a holding penalty to Klas Dahlbeck. The Sharks power play had some difficulty establishing themselves in the Arizona zone. Eventually they did get set up, but the power play did not generate a goal.
They had another chance at 11:05, when Boyd Gordon went to the box for holding Melker Karlsson. the Sharks’ first unit again looked somewhat disorganized and the second jumped in for a faceoff and went right to work. In the space ofa few passes, they had the puck in the net. This time they got a little lucky as Hertl’s attempted pass to Ward hit Arizona’s Murphy and bounced back under Mike Smith. The goal went to Hertl, with assists to Donskoi and Paul Martin.
The Sharks went right back on the power play at 13:50, when Kevin Connauton was called for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass, but did not score. The Sharks finished the period on a penalty kill, as Nick Spaling was called for interference. The shots at the end of the second were 22-18 Sharks.
The Sharks completed the penalty kill to start the third period, and 13:10 in they had another power play. The Coyotes took yet another penalty at 17:55, a hooking penalty to Michael Stone.
The Coyotes pulled their goaltender with just over a minute left and briefly threatened in the Sharks zone. It was quite brief, and then Brent Burns took control of the puck in the neutral zone and passed it to Joe Pavelski for the empty net shot. It was Pavelski’s 34th goal of the season. Assists went to Burns and Joe Thornton.
The Sharks next play on Tuesday at 7:30, hosting the visiting St. Louis Blues.
Matt Nieto and Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed their second game after being injured last Thursday.