Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Mathias Tjarnqvist - (C) Mike Zigomanis- (RW) Shane Doan
(D) Keith Ballard - (D) Derek Morris
SHARKS STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Ryane Clowe - (C) Marcel Goc - (RW) Steve Bernier
(D) Scott Hannan - (D) Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
San Jose - Evgeni Nabokov
On Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped a 5-1 decision to their Pacific Division rivals, the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks offense would strike first when forward Jonathan Cheechoo tipped a shot from Joe Thonron, past goaltender Mikael Tellqvist and into the Phoenix net for a 1-0 lead. San Jose's Milan Michalek would register the secondary assist on Cheechoo's 24th goal of the season.
Following the goal by Cheechoo, the Sharks offense began to flood the Coyotes zone with scoring chances and shots. The intense offensive effort of San Jose also kept Phoenix from creating their own offensive rush and at the 11-minute mark of the first, the Sharks held a 11-1 lead in shots on goal.
During the final seven minutes of the first, the Coyotes began to crawl back in to the game as they increased their own shot total to six, including a pair of quality shots that forced San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov to make quick stops and control loose rebounds.
The Coyotes would be unable to register their first tally of the night in the remainder of the opening period and the two clubs would skate off the ice after 20-minutes of play with San Jose holding a one-goal lead.
The Coyotes opened the second period with an attack on the Sharks net, pumping four quick shots on net, but once again, Nabokov was able to keep the net clean and preserve San Jose's one-goal lead.
At 4:10 of the second, the Sharks were able to extend their lead to 2-0 when Milan Michalek's efforts in front of the Phoenix net created a pile up that eventually let Jonathan Cheechoo grab a loose puck at the top of the crease; and backhand a shot into the Coyotes net.
Just over three minutes later, San Jose struck again, this time it was newest member of the Sharks, Bill Guerin, who would find the back of the net. On the play, Patrick Marleau left a drop pass for Guerin at the top of the right face-off circle, where Guerin released a quick shot the beat Tellqvist high to the glove side to make it a 3-0 game.
At 10:51 of the stanza, Phoenix received their first power play of the evening when San Jose's Cheechoo was called for holding. The Coyotes power play turned in an impressive effort, and nearly saw forward Jeff Taffe find the back of the net, but in the end, the penalty to Cheechoo expired and the Coyotes continued to trail by three.
With 3:31 left in the period, San Jose defenseman Kyle McLaren was called for hooking, putting the Phoenix power play back on the ice. However, this time the Coyotes were unable to establish the same offensive pressure they had on their previous man-advantage and the power play as well as the period would come to and end with Phoenix trailing 3-0.
Just over two minutes into the third period, the Coyotes power play unit received another shot at getting Phoenix on the board when McLaren was sent to the box for roughing. This time, the Coyotes wouldn't let the opportunity pass them by as defenseman Travis Roche tipped a feed from Owen Nolan past the out-stretched glove of Nabokov to make it a 3-1 game.
The Sharks would regain the three-goal lead at 8:09 of the third when Joe Thornton raced in from the left side and sent a backhand upstairs, past Tellqvist for his 18th goal of the season.
At 9:22 of the period, Phoenix rookie Daniel Carcillo was assessed a minor penalty for high sticking, brining the Coyotes penalty killing unit back onto the ice. Then at 9:39 of the third, San Jose defenseman Matt Carle recorded his first point of the evening when he grabbed a rebound at the right side of the net and snapped a shot into an open net, giving the Sharks a 5-1 lead.
The remainder of the game saw both clubs trade offensive rushes, but no further scoring as the Coyotes fell to their Pacific Division rivals, the Sharks by the final score of 5-1.