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COYOTES DROP A 4-0 DECISION TO SAN JOSE

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: San Jose Sharks

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
San Jose - Vesa Toskala

On Monday night, the Phoenix Coyotes surrendered a pair power play goals to the San Jose Sharks as they dropped the first game of a two-game road trip by the score of 4-0.

After the Sharks dumped the puck into the Coyotes zone off the opening face-off, Phoenix forward Fredrik Sjostrom carried the puck out of the zone and into the Sharks end where he snapped a wrist shot on goal. San Jose netminder Vesa Toskala grabbed the puck and held it against his chest to get a whistle and prevent the Coyotes from creating a rebound.

With just over three and a half minutes gone in the opening period, Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski made a great play to ride San Jose center Patrick Marleau off the puck as he tried to cut in toward the Coyotes net.

Minutes after Jovanovski kept Marleau from getting to the net, the San Jose forward made another break for the Phoenix goal. Coyotes' defenseman Keith Ballard tried to prevent Marleau from getting a clean shot off by using his stick to slow Marleau down. As a result, Phoenix would find themselves shorthanded for the first time.

Operating with the man-advantage, the Sharks threw a series of shots at the Phoenix net, but goaltender Curtis Joseph stood on his head to keep the puck out of the net and keep the Sharks off the scoreboard.

At 10:20 of the first, San Jose went back on the power play when Oleg Saprykin was called for high-sticking. In what would become a trend in the first period, the Sharks power play became a two-man advantage just 18-seconds later as Balled was sent to the box for hooking. Facing 1:42 of five-on-three to kill, the Phoenix penalty killing unit went to work as they faced-off against the Sharks top power play unit. Just as they had during their first power play, the Sharks brought a relentless offensive attack into the Coyotes zone that put "Cujo" to the test. But just as he had done earlier, Joseph was able to get his body in front of the puck and hold the Sharks offense in check.

San Jose would make a pair of trips to the box just 50-seconds apart, minutes later with Mark Bell (slashing) and Curtis Brown (hooking) committing the infractions. Unfortunately, Phoenix was unable to create and sustain a serious offensive attack as the Sharks defense kept the puck away from Toskala and repeatedly cleared the zone, nullifying the Coyotes attack.

Phoenix forward Jeremy Roenick sent the Sharks back on the man-advantage at 15:34 of the first when he received a double minor for high-sticking San Jose defenseman Josh Georges. The San Jose power play would turn into the third five-on-three of the period at 17:18 of first when defenseman Zbynek Michalek was called for hooking.

With over two minutes of a two-man advantage, the Sharks headed for the offensive zone and took target practice on the Coyotes net. After shaving a handful of shots turned away by Joseph, San Jose would find the back of the net when Marleau made a pass to the top of the crease form the left side of the net to a wide open Milan Michalek, who tapped the puck into the open net for a 1-0 lead.

Michalek's goal would turnout to be the lone tally of the first period despite the Sharks out-shooting the Coyotes 22-6.

Early in the second period, the Coyotes would get a chance to even the score as San Jose's Steve Bernier was called for boarding at 1:24. However, the Phoenix power play would struggle to find way to get the puck to the net. As a result, the Sharks would hold the Coyotes to just one shot on goal, a wrist shot from Shane Doan along the left hand boards, before Bernier was released form the box and allowed to rejoin the play.

The Coyotes would return to the penalty box with just over seven minutes gone in the stanza as Zbynek Michalek was called for tripping. Phoenix's penalty killers went back to work against the Sharks power play and once again they were able to bend without breaking as Joseph stopped both shots he faced and the Coyotes defense successfully killed off the penalty to Michalek.

At 11:06 of the period, Phoenix forward Mike Comrie had a great chance to tie the score when he grabbed a loose puck at the right side of the Sharks net and tried to slide it into the goal on the near side. But Toskala, who was back on the left side of the net, dove back to the right side and kept Comrie's shot from crossing the goal line with the paddle of his goal stick.

With 4:29 to play in the period, the Sharks added to their lead when forward Steve Bernier followed a rush into the Phoenix zone, took a pass from Marleau and sent a wrist shot into the top corner of the net for a 2-0 lead. The Coyotes expected a goaltender interference call would negate the goal as Milan Michalek shoved defenseman Dennis Seidenberg into Joseph. However, there was no penalty on the play and the goal would stand.

Shortly after the goal by Bernier, Coyotes captain Shane Doan tried to generate offense on his own by driving hard to the net, but this time the officials did make a goaltender interference call, putting Phoenix back on the penalty kill.

San Jose would make the most out of the extra attacker at 17:41 of the second, when Joe Thornton blasted a slap shot from the left point that was tipped at the side of the crease by the Sharks' Joe Pavelski and sent into the top of the net, putting San Jose ahead by the score of 3-0.

The final minute of the second period would slip off the clock as the Coyotes headed to the locker room after 40-minutes of play, trailing by three.

At 4:19 of the third period, San Jose's Curtis Brown would put the Sharks ahead by four when he took the puck from behind the Coyotes goal, skated into the bottom of the left face-off circle and lifted a shot into the top corner of the net.

As the third period continued, offensive opportunities for the Coyotes became harder to come by as the Sharks fell into a defense-first style of play, keeping the Coyotes shots contained to the blueline and the outer perimeter.

Phoenix would go back on the power play at 13:34 of the third when the Sharks were assessed a bench minor for too-many men on the ice. The Coyotes tried to elevate their offensive pressure, but the Sharks matched the effort and kept the Coyotes off the scoreboard.

With just over a minute remaining in regulation, the Sharks' Mark Bell took exception to a hit by Mike Comrie and a melee ensued. Jovanovski came to the assistance of Comrie as he grabbed Bell, but the main event would turn out to be Dave Scatchard and San Jose's Rob Davison, who traded a series of big right hands before eventually being separated by the on-ice officials.

The end result of the incident was a two-minute power play for San Jose, who was content to run-out the final minute of play as the Coyotes fell to their Pacific Division rivals by the score of 4-0.

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