Photo credit: @ArizonaCoyotes
By Matthew Harrington
SAN JOSE — Despite fresh faces behind the bench drawing up the plays, the San Jose Sharks power play remains dismal. On Tuesday night, it hit the low point of the season against the Arizona Coyotes. Trailing 3-2 at home, the Sharks were gifted a 6-on-3 for 43 seconds after a pair Coyotes penalties and the goalie pull but failed to generate a single shot on goal. San Jose is now 1 for 15 on the man-advantage over their last five games, going 0-for-4 Tuesday with three shots on goal. Tomas Hertl scored the two Sharks goals and Taylor Hall netted a point in his Coyotes debut. Darcy Keumper was named first star with 26 saves.
In a night where officiating was spotty, enforcement of a rule new to the NHL in 2019 that is fairly black-and-white led to the first Arizona penalty in crunch time. Coyotes defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin had his helmet knocked off in a scrum along the boards, but continued to play on after the puck left the corner. In a new rule this season, since he was not directly involved in the play he needed to grab his helmet or exit the ice but he chose to play on. Brad Richardson would cross-check Tomas Hertl in the back during a scrum for a loose rebound to set up the fatal 6-on-3 that ultimately amounted to nothing.
The Coyotes set up a tense final minutes of the game after Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored with 2:37 left in regulation after his shot ricocheted off Brenden Dillon’s shinpad wide of the far post and went in. Before that, Dillon was beat out on a race to a loose puck by Hall whose effort led to a game-winning assist in his first game since being traded to Arizona Monday afternoon.
The Sharks erased Arizona leads twice, once in the first two periods each. Carl Soderberg scored 4:57 into the contest, but Tomas Hertl answered back on a snapshot that rattled around the net behind Keumper with 2:34 left in the first.
Derek Stepan scored his sixth goal of the year and second against the Sharks this year 9:11 into the second, but Hertl again answered, going bar down on Kuemper from the left face-off dot to the blocker side with 6:05 left in the period. Hertl now has four of the seven goals the Sharks have scored since interim head coach Bob Boughner took over three games ago.
Aaron Dell started in his second game in a row after winning against Vancouver Saturday. He made just 16 saves on 19 shots, though he was hardly at fault on any of the goals. The Sharks now have lost 7 of their last 8 and are six points back of Calgary for the final wild card spot.
The Sharks play host to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at 7:30 pm PST.