GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The Olympic break could not have come at a better time for the struggling Phoenix Coyotes.
Dealing with allegations of illegal gambling surrounding assistant coach Rick Tocchet and head coach Wayne Gretzky's wife since Tuesday, Phoenix has lost four straight and six of seven, including a 5-4 overtime loss to San Jose on Sunday.
Gretzky, also the executive director of Canada's Olympic hockey team, will travel to Italy on Monday with wife Janet Jones for the Turin Olympics.
Gretzky was unavailable after the game because of his travel plans.
"The Wayne Gretzky situation is over as far as we're concerned," associate coach Barry Smith said. "We've moved on."
Tom Preissing scored with 3:04 left in overtime off a Joe Thornton to give the Sharks the win.
"It's a credit to our first unit," Preissing said. "We were just kinda out there to sweep it up a bit, and Joe stayed out a little longer and made a really nice play. He does a great job of drawing guys to him and I just happened to be on the receiving end."
Preissing one-timed a pass from Thornton between Curtis Joseph's pads to give the Sharks their third straight victory.
His goal came immediately after Mike Ricci finished serving a two-minute hooking penalty he received with six seconds left in regulation.
"It was obviously a huge advantage going into overtime knowing we had the power play and the game basically was in our hands at that point," Preissing said.
Steven Reinprecht sent the game into overtime with 3:42 left in regulation with the Coyotes playing with an extra attacker while waiting for a delayed penalty to be called on San Jose. He took a shot which Vesa Toskala deflected behind the net, chased the rebound and bounced the puck in off Toskala.
Patrick Marleau had put the Sharks ahead 4-3 just over 2 minutes earlier on a power-play blast from the high slot for his second goal of the game.
"I thought was our best effort in the last four or five games we've played," Smith said. "We played a goal behind the entire game."
Thornton finished with a goal and two assists, and Nils Ekman added a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who beat the Coyotes for the first time in five games.
"We had confidence going into overtime that we were going to win the game in regulation," Thornton said. "We've had our problems against these guys. We addressed before the game that they always play us hard and we can't take them granted."
Fredrik Sjostrom, Dave Scatchard and Jamie Lundmark scored for the Coyotes, who have lost four straight.
"You have to look at it as we really battled hard out there and that's a good sign," Sjostrom. "Now we just have to go home or wherever guys are going and rest up."
After a listless and scoreless first period, Thornton gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal at 6:52 of the second, tucking a trickling rebound behind Joseph.
Sjostrom tied it at 1 just 84 seconds later, beating Toskala on a quick wrist shot from the left edge of the right faceoff circle.
Marleau put the Sharks back in front at 11:17 of the period, skating into the crease as Steve Bernier wrapped around the net and one-timing the puck into the open right side of the net before Joseph could adjust.
Scatchard tied the game again 12 seconds into the third period when he redirected a touch pass from Mike Johnson past Toskala.
Ekman made it 3-2 in the third when he gathered in the puck after Jonathan Cheechoo only partially connected on a shot and flipped a wrist shot over a prone Joseph into the right corner of the net.
"We had some big goals to keep tying it up but we needed to find a way to get that lift and to get the one to get the lead," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "We never managed to get the lead."
Notes: Toskala has made three straight starts for the Sharks. ... Thornton's goal gave him 500 career points in 564 career games. He had been scoreless in his last four games. ... Scatchard has four goals in his last seven games.
|PPG - Joe Thornton (21) ASST: Nisse Ekman (21)|
1 - 0 SJS
|Fredrik Sjostrom (4) ASST: Geoff Sanderson (13)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Patrick Marleau (24) ASST: Steve Bernier (4), Milan Michalek (11)|
2 - 1 SJS
|Dave Scatchard (12) ASST: Mike Johnson (24), Boyd Devereaux (10)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Nisse Ekman (14) ASST: Jonathan Cheechoo (22), Joe Thornton (59)|
3 - 2 SJS
|Jamie Lundmark (6) ASST: Denis Gauthier (9), Zbynek Michalek (10)|
3 - 3 Tie
|PPG - Patrick Marleau (25) ASST: Christian Ehrhoff (12), Nisse Ekman (22)|
4 - 3 SJS
|Steve Reinprecht (11) ASST: Shane Doan (24), Geoff Sanderson (14)|
4 - 4 Tie
|Tom Preissing (7) ASST: Joe Thornton (60), Kyle McLaren (16)|
5 - 4 SJS
|Power Play %||25.0%||0.0%|
|% on Road||25.0%||0.0%|
|% at Home||0.0%||0.0%|
|Marcel Goc Hooking against Mike Ricci|
|Mike Johnson Closing hand on puck|
|Boyd Devereaux Hooking|
|Geoff Sanderson Hooking against Scott Hannan|
|Oleg Saprykin Hooking against Scott Thornton|
|Mike Ricci Hooking against Nisse Ekman|
|Mike Ricci Misconduct (10 min)|