Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By: Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Sharks had lost two straight game before Sunday’s tilt versus the Arizona Coyotes at the SAP Center. In case you missed, San Jose lost to Los Angeles 3-2 in overtime at the SAP Center Saturday.
Prior to the faceoff, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer made a swap of the Swedes. Tim Heed was in for Erik Karlsson. Karlsson was suspended for two games for an illegal hit to Austin Wagner’s head Saturday. When it comes to starting goaltenders, the Sharks’ Aaron Dell got the nod, while the Coyotes’ Darcy Kuemper was in net.
The opening period was an action-packed, back-and-forth affair between the two teams.
The Sharks went on the power play after Oliver Ekman-Larsson elbowed Kevin Labanc with 6:27 left in the opening period. Tim Heed scored on the power play for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead with 4:49 left. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Thornton received the assists. With the assist, Thornton moved into the 10th spot on the NHL’s all-time assists leaders list with 1,041.
But the Sharks’ lead was short-lived as the Coyotes quickly tied up the score 1-1. Just 20 seconds later, Alex Galyenchuk scored the equalizer for his fourth goal of the season. Clayton Keller received the lone assist.
The score was tied 1-1 at the end of the first. Shots were 11-10 in favor of the Coyotes. The Sharks, however, played fairly consistent defense that helped them stand their ground.
Of course, a Pacific Division matchup wouldn’t be possible without a bitter fight, and that was exactly what happened in the second period. Both teams dropped the gloves, and as a result, the officials handed out penalties to Brenden Dillon and Niklas Hjalmarsson for roughing and Conor Garland for hooking.
Joe Pavelski was called for slashing Ekman-Larsson with 9:55 left in the second. The Coyotes went on the power play and Galchenyuk scored for his second goal of the game (and fifth goal of the season) on a 5-on-3 to give his team a 2-1 lead with 7:39 left in the second. Keller and Nick Schmaltz received the assists.
The Sharks trailed the Coyotes 2-1 at the end of the second. Shots were 21-16 in favor of Arizona. San Jose’s lackluster effort affected them and that’s why they fell behind in the stanza.
The Sharks tied the game 2-2 just 4:17 into the final period. Tomas Hertl unleashed his Hertl power for his 11th goal of the season. Vlasic and Justin Braun received the assists.
But the Sharks’ lead disappeared in the blink of an eye. Just 1:49 later, Conor Garland scored his second goal of the season to help the Coyotes to a 3-2 lead. Richard Panik and Jakob Chychrun received the assists.
Hertl, however, tied the game 3-3 with his second goal of the game (and 12th goal of the season) with 6:07 left in the third. Braun and Evander Kane received the assists.
The score remained in a 3-3 deadlock at the end of regulation, so the tilt went into overtime to determine a winner.
The Sharks were on the power play after Garland served a Coyotes penalty for too many men on the ice, but they were unable to capitalize with the man advantage, so the game went to down to the wire in the form of a shootout. In the first round, Galchenyuk fired, while Pavelski missed. In the second round, neither team succeeded. And, frankly, the third time wasn’t a charm as Logan Couture missed and the Sharks fell to the Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout. San Jose lost its third game in a row. Dell made 23 saves on 26 shots in a losing effort for the Sharks.
Kuemper made 35 saves on 38 shots en route to a Coyotes victory.
The Sharks return to action on Thursday, Dec. 27 at the Honda Center against the Ducks. Faceoff set for 7:30 pm PT on NSCA and PRIT.