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Hertl's pair leads Sharks past Coyotes

by Staff /

Rookie Tomas Hertl is making a big impression with the San Jose Sharks.

Hertl had an assist in his NHL debut on Thursday and followed that with two goals as San Jose beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 on Saturday night for their second win in as many games this season.

Hertl, San Jose's first selection (No. 17) in the 2012 NHL Draft, beat Mike Smith 46 seconds after the opening faceoff and made it 2-0 at 7:23 with a power-play goal. Patrick Marleau beat a beleaguered Smith for another power-play goal at 12:30 for a 3-0 lead.

"We have a pretty good idea of what he can do and he's lucky to be playing with a couple of pretty good players that complement him well," coach Todd McLellan said. "It's a big night for him, one that he'll remember for a long time. More importantly, the group played really, really well."

The Sharks finished with a 51-23 advantage in shots on goal, but didn't beat Smith again. Logan Couture hit the empty net for the final margin.

"I was just telling myself make as many saves as you can and maybe we'll figure it out," Smith said.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored late in the second period for the Coyotes, who played the opener of a five-game trip after beating the New York Rangers at home in their season-opener on Thursday.

"Everything we did well in the first game we didn't do tonight, and it showed," Smith said. "They were coming at us hard, and we know they always do in this arena, but we didn't answer the bell."

Antti Niemi stopped 22 shots for San Jose, which hosts the Rangers on Tuesday.

Hertl opened the scoring when he took a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and slipped a backhander through Smith's legs. He made it 2-0 by redirecting Matt Irwin's shot into the net.

"It's great. You can see how he's having fun with it and smiling a lot," Marleau said of Hertl. "He brings a lot of energy to this group, and it's fun to see."

Marleau scored his second goal of the season by putting Vlasic's pass into an empty net after Joe Pavelski's pass bounced off Smith's pad.

Smith had played some of the best hockey of his career against the Sharks, so beating him three times before the game was 13 minutes old was a big boost.

"When you score on the first shot against him, that kind of give you more confidence that you can beat him," McLellan said. "He's certainly had our number so we're happy with that."

Ekman-Larsson gave the Coyotes some life when he took a pass from Zbynek Michalek in his own zone and went coast-to-coast before firing a wrister from the right side that went into the net off Niemi's glove.

"We didn't execute well and we got out-battled on loose pucks," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said, "and when you don't have the puck ever, you're chasing the game."

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