GLENDALE – Coyotes goaltending prospect Mark Visentin stopped 29 of 32 shots in his NHL debut on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena as the Coyotes lost to the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, in the penultimate game of Phoenix’s 2013-14 season.
Visentin joined the Coyotes on March 25, the day after starter Mike Smith suffered a lower-body injury in a game against the New York Rangers. Visentin watched backup Thomas Greiss make eight consecutive starts until getting his turn vs. San Jose.
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"It was a fun experience," Visentin said after his first outing. "I shouldn’t say fun - I was having fun at times - it sucks losing but I think for me it was a tough first period. I definitely felt the jitters out there but I thought the team did a great job coming back in the second. That definitely helped me feel more comfortable out there… At the end of the day, I’ve got to give credit to the guys for playing hard in front of me. I appreciate it.”
Visentin’s first NHL save came just 10 seconds into the game on a shot by San Jose’s Patrick Marleau. Sharks center Joe Pavelski then scored two goals on Visentin before the game was 10 minutes old, but the 21-year-old settled down and held them to just one goal on their next 27 shots.
"You just have to put that behind you," Visentin said of his psyche after the first intermission. "When you’re a goalie there’s not many nights where you don’t let one in, so the biggest thing for me is just resetting mentally between periods and just coming out with a fresh mindset for the second."
The Coyotes selected Visentin with the 27th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He played 44 games for Portland of the American Hockey League this season before being recalled last month.
Head Coach Dave Tippett liked what he saw from Visentin in his debut.
"He looked a little jittery early, but then he settled (down) in the second and third periods," Tippett said. "I thought he was solid, that’s good to see. He’s a guy that’s a good prospect for us. You get him in a game and see how he reacts in it. That’s a positive for us right now."