San Jose Sharks center Noah Gregor (73) scores a third period goal against Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka (70) for the game winner at SAP Center in San Jose on Sun Mar 20, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 on Sunday, ending their losing streak at three games. Nick Bonino, Timo Meier, Noah Gregor and Rudolfs Balcers scored for the Sharks. James Reimer made 23 saves for the win. Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse scored for Arizona. Karel Vejmelka made 25 saves in the loss.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said: “I thought we came out hard, first five minutes. I thought that we started trying to be a little too fancy, not shooting enough pucks.” He mentioned how the Sharks knew very well that the Coyotes play a similar neutral zone game to their own, then added: “A little hard-headed, we refused to sort of chip pucks, dump pucks. We tried to skate through their wall, just as we’d want teams to do to us.”
Nevertheless, he said that the team “found a way to win, where lots of times this year it’s been the opposite.”
Of Noah Gregor, Of Noah Gregor, who has had terrible puck luck this season, Sharks Captain Logan Couture said:
Mario [Ferraro] told me before the game “Greggy’s scoring tonight. I said “no he’s not.” (laughs) So I was wrong. Great goal, great goal. He used his speed, I though he was excellent all night. I think he was probably our best player. All over the puck, creating chances. You know, he’s had a lot of games like that this year.
The Sharks scored on their first shot of their first shift of the game for a 1-0 lead. Nick Bonino redirected Andrew Colgiano’s shot into Anton Stralman’s skate for the goal. Assists went to Cogliano and Noah Gregor.
That lead lasted until late in the second period when Phil Kessel caught a pass across the slot from Lawson Crouse. Kessel had an open net to tie it up. Assists went to Crouse and Cam Dineen.
It was a sluggish game through the first two periods. The shot count was 15-14 Arizona. The Sharks had two power plays and the Coyotes had one. The Coyotes got three shots in that one power play and the Sharks had just one shot in their two opportunities.
The Coyotes took a lead at 15:09 of the third period. Lawson Crouse scored on the power play with a redirection off the heel of his stick. Assists went to Kessel and Shayne Gostisbehere.
Timo Meier tied it back up less that 30 seconds later. Alexander Barabanov tried for a pass around the boards to Tomas Hertl but it bounced away from Hertl and went right to Meier for the shot. Assists went to Barabanov and Jaycob Megna.
Noah Gregor scored the game winner less than a minute after that. Gregor had the puck behind the net and he saw the goalie move left so he went right for a backhand wrap-around. Logan Couture got the assist.
Rudolfs Balcers scored the insurance goal at 19:10 into an empty net with a shot from a bad angle.
The Sharks led the third in shots 15-10. Each team had a power play in the third, and both power plays had four shots on goal. The Sharks maintained a slight lead in the face-offs, finishing with 51%.
Jonathan Dahlen took a puck to the face late in the game and did not return. Alexander Barabanov was cross-checked and went into the boards head first but he stayed in the game. Andrew Cogliano Crashed into his own net but he also stayed in.
The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Calgary against the Flames at 6:00 PM PT.