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The Wrap: Offense Stays Hot in Win over San Jose

Eleven players record a point as Coyotes gain valuable ground in playoff race

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes
Final Score: Coyotes 5, Sharks 2
Record: 15-14-5
Standings: 5th-place, West Division

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The Coyotes erupted for five goals to defeat the San Jose Sharks by a 5-2 final Friday night at Gila River Arena.

Eleven players recorded at least one point as the team's offensive output continued its upward trend. The Coyotes scored five goals for the third time in their previous four games. They have scored a combined 16 goals in that span.

"It's always nice to see everyone getting on the board," Nick Schmaltz said. "It builds your team's confidence, individuals get (more) confidence, and that can only help us. I thought we were really good tonight. We weren't forcing too many plays. We were making the plays when they were there."

Christian Dvorak opened the scoring early in the first period, snapping a personal 15-game scoring drought in the process.

The Sharks tied the game, 1-1, early in the second period.

Schmaltz, too, snapped a personal scoring drought, his of 11 games, when he struck in the final moments of the second period to reclaim the lead for the Coyotes, 2-1.

The Coyotes tacked on three more goals in a 2:11 window in the third period to take a commanding, 5-1 lead. Dvorak scored his second of the game, Dryden Hunt followed with his second goal of the season, and Phil Kessel capped the rally to extend his point streak to four games. 

Dvorak and Kessel are tied for the team lead with 11 goals. 

Hunt, playing in his ninth game of the season, was happy to contribute.

"It's nice to chip in," Hunt said. "Being out of the lineup, when you get in, you've got to try to make the most of it. It's great when you're getting (scoring) chances. I was just trying to stay positive and keep going. It was nice to get that one."

Adin Hill made 20 saves and earned his third win of the season.

Arizona gained valuable ground in the playoff race with the victory and sit just two points back of the St. Louis Blues for the final playoff spot in the West Division.

"That was our goal at the start of the year, to make the playoffs," Schmaltz said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We had some struggles there for a little while, but I think we're getting back to playing how we were at the start of the year, and that's promising."

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The Game:

First Period: Christian Dvorak opened the scoring at 6:20 to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead.

Second Period: San Jose's Tomas Hertl tied the game, 1-1, at 1:54. Nick Schmaltz reclaimed the lead for the Coyotes, 2-1, at 18:44.

Third Period: The Coyotes scored three goals in 2:11 to take a 5-1 lead: Christian Dvorak (7:48), Dryden Hunt (9:08), Phil Kessel (9:59). Patrick Marleau cut the Sharks' deficit to 5-2 with 7:30 remaining. 

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Statistics: 

SOG: ARI - 28, SJS - 22

PP: ARI - 1/4, SJS - 1/2

Hits: ARI - 15, SJS - 21

Blocks: ARI - 16, SJS - 20

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Tocchet's Take: "I think every line contributed tonight. I thought Nick Schmaltz had a really good game, we needed that, he had a lot of energy. I thought (Dryden) Hunt had a lot of energy, he scored that goal. I thought (Johan) Larsson's line had their moments. And then (Garland, Dvorak and Fischer), that line getting that first goal really helped our team. Everybody contributed. I thought the defense did a really nice job of playing north, a little faster."

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Nick Schmaltz said: "We're doing a better job lately of getting to the net and getting those second and third whacks. Goalies are good in this league, and if you don't get in front of them or you don't get a stick on it, they're going to make a save most of the time. Guys are doing a good job, they're taking pride in getting in front of the net. You might not get the goal or the assist or anything, but it's a big play. It means a lot to be able to stand in front of the net, it's not an easy job. I think we're doing a good job of that."

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Notable: 

  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson registered two assists and tied Jeremy Roenick and Laurie Boschman for the eighth-most points (379) in franchise history.
  • Christian Dvorak registered his fourth multi-goal game and his team-leading fourth game-winning goal of the season.
  • Clayton Keller assisted Phil Kesselk's third period goal and has registered a point in eight of his last 10 games against the Sharks (2-8-10).
  • Dryden Hunt led the Coyotes with four shots on goal and tied for the team lead with three hits.

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A Closer Look: Phil Kessel played his 1,100th NHL game. He became the second youngest active player and the youngest US-born player to reach that milestone. Kessel tallied his team leading ninth power-play point with his third period goal. He leads the Coyotes with seven, third period goals.

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Coyotes Lineup:

Forwards

Keller - Larsson - Kessel

Fischer - Dvorak - Garland

Hunt - Brassard - Crouse

Caggiula - Schmaltz - Hayden

Defensemen

Chychrun - Goligoski

Ekman-Larsson - Lyubushkin

Oesterle - Demers 

Scratches

Chaput

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Roster Notes: Tyler Pitlick suffered a lower-body injury Tuesday and was placed in the Injured Reserve list. Drake Caggiula returned to the lineup to fill in for the injured Pitlick. Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper-body), Antti Raanta (lower-body) and Darcy Kuemper remain on the Injured Reserve list. Jakob Chychrun left the game midway through the third period with an undisclosed injury, but it is not expected to be serious.

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What's Next: The Coyotes play the San Jose Sharks Saturday night, 7 p.m., at Gila River Arena.

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Photo of the Game: Chipping (it) in. Christian Dvorak slips a backhand shot past San Jose's Martin Jones, scoring his second goal of the night to give the Coyotes a 3-1 lead in the third period.

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Highlights:

Video: Kessel scores goal in 1100th game, Coyotes win 5-2

Lead Photo Credit: Kelsey Grant - Arizona Coyotes

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