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Dillon scores first of the season in third period, San Jose beats Arizona 3-2

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Brenden Dillon scored his first goal of the season in the third period and Antti Niemi stopped 27 shots, lifting the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.

Joe Pavelski scored his 22nd goal in the first period and Tomas Hertl scored in the second for the Sharks. Dillon scored his first goal in 62 games early in the third period on a deflected shot and Niemi made some big saves down the stretch to give San Jose a victory before opening a seven-game homestand.

Mikkel Boedker scored in his third straight game and Shane Doan also had a goal before sitting out most of the third period with a right leg injury. Devan Dubnyk stopped 22 shots for Arizona, which has lost four of six.

After a superb stretch in December, the Sharks hit a bit of a slump, losing six of nine games.

San Jose has struggled to score at times during its funk, scoring two or fewer goals five times. The return of Joe Thornton after four-game absence during to a shoulder injury did little to spark the Sharks against the New York Rangers on Saturday, leading to a 2-1 loss.

Arizona figured to be a nice remedy for San Jose.

Despite being built upon defence, the Coyotes have struggled in their own end all season, entering Tuesday's game 28th in goals-against in the NHL, allowing 3.31 per game. Arizona had blowup games twice in the last three games, allowing 11 goals in a pair of losses wrapped around a 4-1 win over Winnipeg.

The Sharks had some good scoring chances in the first period, but didn't score.

The Coyotes also generated some good opportunities and did score late, when Boedker faked a shot then beat Niemi with a slap shot for his fourth goal in three games.

Once the second period revved up, so did San Jose's offence.

Pavelski tied it 30 seconds into the period on a power play, a wrister from the right faceoff dot that Dubnyk had no chance of seeing through traffic in front of the crease.

Hertl put San Jose up 63 seconds after that, redirecting a pass from Brent Burns just past Dubnyk's stick side.

Doan tied it midway through, punching in his 10th of the season from just outside the crease after a pass by Antoine Vermette hit a skated and bounced toward the net.

San Jose appeared to take the lead back in the closing seconds, but Dubnyk knocked the goal off its moorings with his skate and the goal was disallowed.

The Sharks did get the lead in the third period, when Dillon sent a shot that caromed off the skate of Coyotes defenceman Zbynek Michalek and went between Dubnyk's pads.

Niemi closed it out, turning away everything the Coyotes threw at him.

NOTES: Coyotes D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, named an NHL All-Star last the weekend, played in his 300th career game. ... Sharks C Andrew Desjardins did not play so he could be with his wife, Mandy, who is pregnant with their first child. ... Coyotes C Martin Hanzal missed his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Dillon's goal was his first since last Feb. 27 against Carolina.

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