GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Curtis Joseph followed his worst game of the season with one of his best.
Joseph stopped 20 of 21 shots, including a late flurry in the closing minutes, and Mike Comrie scored a power-play goal with 17:08 remaining to help the Phoenix Coyotes edge the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Thursday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Statistically, I had a bad game the other night," Joseph said jokingly of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to St. Louis, in which he allowed five goals on 12 shots. "The best thing is to get right back out there."
Jamie Lundmark also scored a power-play goal for the Coyotes, who won for the first time since coach Wayne Gretzky took an indefinite leave of absence on Dec. 17 to be with his ailing mother who died on Monday.
"We knew we had to play well to win," Joseph said. "We played desperate the last game and it was one of those games where nothing we're right. Tonight we got it done and against a really good team."
Joseph said his focus was heightened by the presence of Joe Thornton, whose 14-game point streak was snapped.
"He's always behind the net lurking," Joseph said. "He protects the puck so well and is able to find the passes. You have to know where everyone is when he's got the puck."
Patrick Marleau had an unassisted goal for the Sharks, who lost for the second time in nine games.
San Jose spent the final 28 seconds with a two-man advantage thanks to a cross-checking penalty on Ladislav Nagy and coach Ron Wilson's decision to pull Evgeni Nabokov for an extra attacker. But Joseph, with the help of a blocked shot by defenseman Zbynek Michalek, was able to keep the Coyotes in the lead.
Comrie scored just 11 seconds after a hooking penalty against Scott Hannan gave the Coyotes a two-man advantage. Paul Mara one-timed a shot from the high slot and Nabokov also saved Nagy's rebound attempt from the side of the crease.
But Nabokov was unable to control the puck, which bounced to Comrie between the circles. With Nabokov still standing at the right side of the crease, Comrie fired the puck into the vacated center of the net for the game-winner.
"It was a tight checking game and they should never have gotten a 5-on-3," Wilson said. "That was not a good call. A guy's stick is stuck in another guy's sweater, that's not hooking and he made a call. I think he thought Hannan was right-handed and had his stick wrapped around him but it wasn't. We've got a great hockey game going and then get put down on a 5-on-3 on a questionable call."
Mike Ricci appeared to make it 3-1 with 6:30 remaining, but the goal was waved off after video goal judge Adam Keller ruled Ricci had kicked the puck into the net.
Marleau needed just 91 seconds to give San Jose a 1-0 lead. Coyotes defenseman Sean O'Connell attempted to clear the puck but his pass bounced off Marleau, who quickly gained control of the puck and beat Joseph on a backhand from the slot.
Lundmark tied the game 1-1 at 11:52 of the period, redirecting a pass from Derek Morris past Nabokov from between the circles.
"When your confidence is down the last thing you want to do is scream at the players too much," said Phoenix interim coach Rick Tocchet. "But we were playing tentative and (associate head coach) Barry Smith and I had to get on them a little bit. We were on our heels, and championship teams play on their toes, not on their heels."
Notes: Thornton had tied the Sharks' franchise record with an assist in each of the eight games he's played since he was traded to San Jose from Boston on November 30. ... The Coyotes were without LW Geoff Sanderson, who was out with a hip flexor suffered in Tuesday's loss to St. Louis. Sanderson was replaced on the roster by Tim Jackman, whom Phoenix acquired from Columbus with Sanderson on October 8. ... Jackman, who led the AHL's San Antonio Rampage in penalty minutes, entered the scoring sheet when he was pummeled in a one-sided fight with Rob Davison midway through the second period. "He didn't play a lot but he did what we asked him to do," Tocchet said.