Late third period rally sparks Coyotes past Sharks 5-2

Training staff and doctors attend the Arizona Coyotes Clayton Keller (9) who got his skate caught under the dasher boards and suffered a broken femur and was carted off the ice vs. the San Jose Sharks at Gila River Arena Glendale on Wed Mar 30, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Daniel Dullum
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Jan Jenik scored his first two goals of the season, both assisted by Phil Kessel, as the Arizona Coyotes snapped a six-game losing streak, defeating the visiting San Jose Sharks 5-2 Wednesday at Gila River Arena.

Jenik has scored four goals in his NHL career– all of them against the Sharks.

Both teams are in the midst of a rebuild andnot headed to the postseason. San Jose is sixth in the NHL Pacific Division with66 points (29-29-8); the Coyotes are eighth in the Central Division with 43points (21-45-1).

Jenik’s second goal of the game put the Coyotes ahead 3-2 at 7:11 of the third period. For the second time in the game,Kessel assisted Jenik, who took a pass from the veteran while positioned in the slot, beating San Jose goaltender James Reimer.

Barrett Hayton scored an insurance tally for Arizona at 17:02 of the third period, just after teammate Clayton Keller was taken from the ice on a stretcher with an undisclosed injury. The Coyotes’ Nick Schmaltz tacked on an unassisted empty-netter at 19:14, his 20th goal of the season.

“It looked like (Keller) lost his balance and hit the boards hard. You could see he was in a lot of pain,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said. “At a time like that, all your thoughts are on him, and you have to give him his space. But when you start playing again, you have to regroup and we didn’t, and they got that fourth goal right away.”

San Jose outshot the Coyotes 42-24. Karel Vejmelka made 40 saves, including all 11 shots he faced in the third period.Reimer was credited with 19 saves, facing 13 shots in the first two periods.
On the Sharks’ third period defensive collapse, Couture added, “(Reimer) made some big saves for us tonight, but he can’t make all of them.”

Arizona took a 2-1 lead at 8:33 of the second period on Jenik’s first goal of the season on a clever assist Kessel. From the trapezoid behind Reimer, Kessel picked up a loose puck and flipped a backhand pass to the slot area that found Jenik, who converted a one-timer to Reimer’s stick side.

Brent Burns responded with his seventh goal of the season, tying the game at 2-2 at the 14:07 mark of the second period.Burns fired a low shot through traffic in front of the net and past Vejmelka.

The Sharks used a power play goal to open the scoring at 12:13 of the first period. Scott Reedy was parked near the crease and redirected a shot from the right point by Ryan Merkley, beating Vejmelka to the glove side.

Nick Ritchie’s 10th goal of the season provided the equalizer at 15:46 of the first period for the Coyotes.Schmaltz was skating in from the right and sent a pass to the blade of Ritchie’s stick, and the puck was steered past Reimer’s right skate just inside the goal post.

The Sharks’ next game is Thursday in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.

SHARK BITES: San Jose’s pregame scratches were Jonah Gadjovich, Radim Simek, Jonathan Dahlen ad Matt Nieto. … This was the Sharks’ final visit to Gila River Arena, as the Coyotes are moving to Arizona State’s new 5,000-seat college hockey arena in Tempe for the next three seasons. To accommodate NHL expansion to Seattle, Arizona moved to the NHL Central Division this year, thus, the two longtime Pacific Division rivals only met twice this season.

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