By Mary Walsh
AP photo: Sharks goalie Martin Jones stops a shot by the Coyotes Jordan Martinook during the second period of Saturday’s game
SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks defeated the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 4-1 on Saturday. Matt Tennyson, Chris Tierney, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi all scored for the Sharks. Melker Karlsson earned two assists in the game, his first multi-point game since November. Martin Jones stopped 22 of 23 shots for the win. Martin Hanzal scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, while goaltender Louis Domingue stopped 24 of 27 shots from the Sharks.
Two very well-played periods were enough to give the Sharks another mark in the win column. While the Sharks were plying the Coyotes, the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime. This moved the Ducks temporarily ahead of the Sharks in the standings. This fact added significance to an already important divisional contest.
The second period was the Coyotes’ only really strong one, or perhaps it was just a weak showing from the Sharks. While the Sharks did get goals from unusual scorers, their power play was a disappointment. It was not until Joonas Donskoi’s empty netter during the team’s fifth power play that the Sharks scored with the man advantage. By the same token, the Sharks penalty kill was perfect Saturday night.
The Sharks opened the scoring 2:59 into the first period. Matt Tennyson scored it with a laser beam from the point that went under Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue. It came back out so fast that it could hardly be seen in the net except on replay. It was Tennyson’s second of the season. Assists went to Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson.
The first penalty also went to the Sharks, near the halfway mark of the first. Dainius Zubrus went to the box for interference. The Coyotes managed one shot on the power play and the Sharks cleared it out three times.
With 4:04 left in the period, the Sharks had their first power play when Martin Hanzal went to the box for boarding. The power play did not produce but shortly after it ended, Matt Tennyson almost scored again and saw it disallowed by a quick whistle.
It did not sting too much. Seconds later Chris Tierney scored with a nice tap-in. Assists went to Brent Burns and Melker Karlsson.
With just 35 seconds left, Marc-Edouard Vlasic went to the box for holding.
At the end of the first period, the Sharks led the Coyotes on the scoreboard by two goals to none. The Coyotes spent most of the period trailing in shots but by the end they had taken a slim lead of 10-9.
The Coyotes came out for the second hungry. They started with a couple of prolonged sieges to finish up their power play. Then Martin Hanzal intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and skated in alone to cut the Sharks’ lead in half. The goal came just 1:58 into the second, with an assist going to Tobias Rieder.
5:43 into the period, Antoine Vermette was called for hooking. The Sharks power play started with an early short-handed breakaway from Jordan Martinook. Martin Jones stopped his initial shot and Sharks skaters got control of the rebound quickly enough to prevent another shot.
After the power play ended, a scuffle in front of the Coyotes net landed Tomas Hertl and Shane Doan in the box with matching roughing minors. Less than 30 seconds later, the Sharks had a 4 on 3 power play after Martinook went to the box for holding. The power play was marked by a number of missed shots, both 4-on-3 and 5-on-4.
The period ended with no further scoring. The Coyotes did not run out of steam and had several good chances that Jones had to scramble to stop. The teams went to the dressing room tied in shots at 22 each, in a one-goal game.
By the middle of the third period, the Sharks had added three shots to their total and the Coyotes had none. Just under nine minutes in, the Coyotes got their first shot of the period, during a power play. Tommy Wingels was in the box for holding.
Just past the ten minute mark, Tomas Hertl had a goal called back for being off of a high stick. As with the first disallowed goal, the Sharks answered quickly with one that did count. Unlike the first case, this makeup goal was scored by the same person who lost it seconds earlier. The goal was a nice deflection of a Burns shot, done with his stick blade as low as it could get without digging a hole in the ice. It was Hertl’s eleventh goal of the season, with assists to Burns and Martin.
The Coyotes responded to the goal by quickly taking a penalty and putting the Sharks back on their thus-far ineffective power play. In was again ineffective, except for preventing offensive chances for the Coyotes.
With five minutes left, the Coyotes still only had one shot in the period. They did not get another. During a fifth power play opportunity for the Sharks, Arizona pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. As a result, Donskoi had an empty net to shot at during that final power play. It was his tenth of the season, with assists going to Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Thornton.
The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Tampa against the Lightning at 4:30 pm PT.