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Final Look: Coyotes' Hot Start Subsides Against Sharks on Saturday

Arizona scores twice in the opening 2:12 of play; Pacific point streak snapped in loss

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Recap

COYOTES' HOT START SUBSIDES AGAINST SHARKS

The Coyotes suffered their first regulation loss in over a week on Saturday night, falling to the San Jose Sharks by a 4-2 score at Gila River Arena.

The result also served as the club's first regulation loss to a division opponent since opening night on October 3; since then, the Coyotes had earned points in nine consecutive games (6-0-3) against Pacific counterparts, the second-longest intra-division streak in franchise history.

Arizona got off to a roaring start, scoring two goals in a span of 39 seconds, taking a 2-0 lead just 2:12 into the contest.

Nick Schmaltz buried the first, finishing off a clean tic-tac-toe sequence with Conor Garland and Christian Dvorak .

Derek Stepan followed on the ensuing shift, scoring from almost the exact same spot as Schmaltz, one-timing a Clayton Keller feed into the back of the net to give the Coyotes what looked to be a very commanding advantage.

The Sharks, however, would go on to score four unanswered goals; one in the first period, two in the second period, and an empty netter in the final seconds of the third period.

The Coyotes were unable to crack San Jose's top-ranked penalty kill unit, failing to score on three-straight third period power plays.

Antti Raanta made 26 saves on 29 shots faced as he returned from an illness, making his first start in a week.

Arizona finished its grueling month of November with an 8-5-3 record, earning points in 11 of 16 games to transition into the month of December situated at second place in the Pacific Division.

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TRACKING IT

GAME #28: ARIZONA (2) vs. SAN JOSE (4)

  • SOG: ARI - 23, SJ - 30
  • PP: ARI - 0/3, SJ - 0/1

ARIZONA SCORING:

SAN JOSE SCORING:

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THEY SAID IT

"I mean our start was really good, it was almost too good, but I think we played as well as we could for the first 7-8 minutes. It's tough to sustain that, but you want to get as close as you can to that level. [The Sharks] are a good team and they pushed back, they held us in pretty good."

Nick Schmaltz, on Saturday's 4-2 loss

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DON'T OVERLOOK IT

THE SITUATION: Tie game, 0-0, with 18:27 remaining in the first period.

Tic-Tac-Toe!

Nick Schmaltz got the Coyotes on the board just over a minute into the contest, finishing off a crisp sequence to pound home a back-door goal to give Arizona an early 1-0 lead.

Entering San Jose territory with speed, Conor Garland stopped on a dime and crossed for Christian Dvorak, who fed Schmaltz with a perfectly timed and place touch pass to set up the perfectly executed tally.

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GOTTA SEE IT

THE SITUATION: Tom Pafford surprises his son, Carmen, during the first intermission.

U.S. Marine Major Tom Pafford reunited with his son at center ice during the first intermission. Nine-year-old Carmen, a goalie, communicated with his father through facetime during the 331 days they were apart. Major Pafford was stationed in the Republic of Georgia and Afghanistan for his third deployment, his previous two in Iraq.

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PHOTO FINISH

Early excitement. Derek Stepan, along with those plastered along the glass, celebrate his first period goal, which gave the Coyotes an early 2-0 advantage just over two minutes into the game in the team's eventual 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night at Gila River Arena. (Photo Credit: Norm Hall / Getty Images)

Lead Photo Credit: Norm Hall - Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

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