Sharks squeak past Coyotes, win 5-3 in the desert

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By: Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, December 8, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Asked about how 28-year-old rookie Lukas Radil came through with the go-ahead goal for San Jose in the third period Saturday against Arizona, Evander Kane responded, “He’s 28?”

Radil’s first career NHL goal provided the go-ahead goal for San Jose Saturday, as the Sharks held off a charge from Arizona and edged the Coyotes 4-3 at the Gila River Arena.

“For him to get his first goal and the way he got his first goal, late in the third period in a tie game, that’s great,” Kane said following the Sharks’ 4-3 win over the Coyotes. “Every time he’s in the lineup, he always brings something positive. He’s a big, strong kid who wins a lot of battles.”

Radil, operating from behind the net, flipped a backhand shot over the left shoulder of Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill and into the top shelf at 14:13  of the third period.

“It was very exciting,” Radil said. “I had a dream to play in the NHL, and the dream came true. I scored a goal; the team wins, so it couldn’t be a better day.

“Our line had a couple of chances, but we won, and that’s what’s more important.”

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said, “We needed something like that, someone coming off the bench to give us something. We’ve been waiting a while for something like that, so it was nice timing. The guy has worked hard to get here to this level and for him to get his first NHL goal like that, it’s pretty rewarding.”

Seconds later, an apparent Arizona goal was waived off. After a video review, the original call was upheld.

Tomas Hertl popped in an empty-net goal at 19:09 for the Sharks, who outshot Arizona 33-20. Aaron Dell stopped 17 of 20 shots for San Jose, while Adin Hill made 32 saves in a losing effort for Arizona.

Trailing 3-2 after two periods, the Coyotes got the equalizer at 5:45 of the third period when Richard Panik’s shot from the left circle went through Dell’s 5-hole.

“We were a little depleted but the guys gave it their all,” Coyotes Coach Rick Tocchet said. “We had a couple of chances there at 3-3, and they get that goal (by Radil). It was a weird goal. Then, we thought we got it back, but it was inconclusive and then we tried to make a push.”

San Jose opened the scoring at 14:36 of the first period when Joe Pavelski redirected a low slapper from the left point by Brenden Dillon. Pavelski’s 19th goal of the season beat Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill to the stick side.

Less than a minute later, the Sharks made it 2-0 on Logan Couture’s 10th goal. The Coyotes were unable to clear the puck from their own zone, and Couture’s breakaway shot from the slot found Hill’s 5-hole at 15:26.

The Sharks outshot Arizona 14-7 in the first period.

At 5:10 of the second period, San Jose extended its lead to 3-0. Evander Kane broke up a clearing pass, and won the race to the loose puck, beating Hill on the short side just above his right skate for an unassisted tally.

After the Sharks’ Kevin Labanc got the gate for slashing at 6:30 of the second period, Arizona scored 15 seconds into the power play on Nick Schmaltz’s fifth goal of the season. Schmaltz, parked on the right edge of the goal crease, took a centering pass out of the left corner by Clayton Keller and beat Dell on the glove side.

Arizona struck again at 10:43 of the second period when Jakob Chychrun’s shot from the point was redirected by Brad Richardson to the right of Dell. Richardson’s eighth goal of the season pulled the Coyotes to within 3-2.

“We found a way to win,” DeBoer said. “Right now, it seems like the chances we give up wind up in the net. I’m not saying they’re bad goals — it just seems like with the opportunities we give up, the puck is going in our net with teams putting a lot of pressure on us.

“There’s still a lot more good than bad, but there’s still a lot of work left to do.”

SHARK BITES: San Jose C Joe Thornton passed Steve Yzerman for 18th place on the NHL’s all-time games played list (1,515). Thornton is also two assists from tying Marcel Dionne (1,040) for 10th place on the league’s all-time assist list. … Arizona’s Conor Garland made his NHL debut, skating on the Coyotes’ second line with Derek Stepan and Christian Fletcher. … The announced attendance at Gila River Arena was 13,780.

UP NEXT: The Sharks return to SAP Center to host the Devils on Monday, December 10 at 7:30 pm PST.

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