The San Jose Sharks Timo Meier (28) stick handling the puck, the Arizona Coyotes Christian Fischer (28), and the Sharks Logan Couture (39) in pursuit at Glendale Arena on Sat Jan 16, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks lost 5-3 to the Coyotes in Arizona Saturday afternoon. Arizona goals came from Phil Kessel (2), Barrett Hayton, Jakob Chychrun and Clayton Keller scored for Arizona. Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and Ryan Donato scored for San Jose. Antti Raanta made 31 saves for the win Martin Jones made 19 saves in the loss.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said:
We spent a lot more time in their end in the O-zone, we played a little faster I thought. You know, they got a little bit of puck luck tonight. They were the better team in the first game. I thought we played a lot harder and a lot more structured in this game.
The Sharks led the game in many respects but not on the scoresheet. They outshot the Coyotes 34-26, they had four power plays to Arizona’s 3. San Jose scored in two of four power plays and killed two of three penalties. The glaring bad stat was in the faceoff circle. They won just 40% of them. The only Sharks skater to win more than half of his draws was Patrick Marleau, who took five draws and won four. Tomas Hertl won 7 of 18, and Logan Couture won 5 of 11. No one else took more than three or won more than one.
On the subject of faceoffs, Boughner said:
It’s something we gotta get way better at. I think that we struggled in the faceoff circle even in the first game. You know, it’s an important part of the game and I thought our puck movement was better off of won faceoffs. But we lost too many, and you’re chasing the puck all night.
The Sharks scored first at 3:34, with a power play goal from Ryan Donato. Conor Garland was in the box for tripping Marc-Edouard Vlasic. High in the slot, Timo Meier bobbled a shot but got it right back and sent it through traffic and off of Ryan Donato. Assists went to Meier and Mario Ferraro.
Arizona responded with their own power play goal at 12:31. Evander Kane was in the box for tripping Tyler Pitlick. Phil Kessel tried to send the puck in and it went off of Nikolai Knyzhov. It came right back to Kessel and he moved around the Sharks defense to make a backhand shot that went through before slipping past Martin Jones. An assist went to Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Barrett Hayton gave the Coyotes a lead at 14:41. After a lot of play behind the net, Conor Garland made a quick pass to the Hayton in the slot. Assists went to Garland and Nick Schmaltz.
Timo Meier tied it back up less than a minute later. Meier was moving down the wall with the puck, while Kevin Labanc skated down the slot with Jakob Chychrun defending. Meier made the pass and it hit Chychrun and bounced into the net.
Arizona scored twice in the second period, the first a shot from the blue line from Ekman-Larsson. His shot went right through four skaters before hitting Phil Kessel on its way into the net. It was Kessel’s second of the game, with assists to Ekman-Larsson and Christian Dvorak.
Jakob Chychrun scored at 8:56. A clean face-off win in the offensive zone gave Chychrun a shot with lots of traffic as the face-off broke up. Derick Brassard got the assist.
Clayton Keller added to the Coyotes lead just 2:39 into the third period. After Brassard won another offensive zone faceoff, Ekman-Larsson held the puck at the blue line before trying for a tip from Keller in the slot. Martin Jones stopped that but Keller came right down for the rebound and put that one in. Assists went to Ekman-Larsson and Brassard.
Midway through the third, Boughner pulled Martin Jones and put Devan Dubnyk in. After the game, the coach explained that that was only to give Dubnyk sme ice tine before their next game. Since it did not come right after the fifth goal, it did not look like a reaction to Jones’ play in particular.
The Sharks had a power play start in the final minute of play, and scored their own goal right off of an O-zone faceoff. Just eight seconds into the power play, Tomas Hertl tipped Timo Meier’s shot from the top of the circle. Assists went to Meier and Erik Karlsson.
Roster changes: Jacob Middleton was in for Nick Meloche on the blue line.
The Sharks now travel to St. Louis for their next game at 5:00 PM PT on Monday, against the Blues.