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Jokinen's big night ends Sharks' win streak

by Brian Compton
Given their recent success and an early 2-0 lead on Sunday night, one would have thought the San Jose Sharks were well on their way to extending their winning streak to 8 games.

But Olli Jokinen had other plans.

The Coyotes' star center scored twice and added an assist, as the Phoenix Coyotes put a stop to San Jose's winning ways with a 4-2 victory at Arena.

''We believe 5-on-5 we can play against any team in this League,'' said Jokinen, who now has 7 goals this season. ''We need to get better every day.''

Jokinen wasn't the Coyotes' only star player on Sunday. Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves to earn his third win in 5 games.

''He's making big saves and key saves,'' Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. ''He's really in a groove right now and it's good to see.''

Ryane Clowe had a goal and an assist and Dan Boyle also scored for the Sharks, first overall in the NHL at 13-3-0. Both Boyle and Clowe connected on the power play in the first 10:30 of the game. The Sharks were without goalie Evgeni Nabkov and right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, both of whom are day-to-day. Nabokov sustained a lower-body injury Thursday, while Cheechoo missed his second straight game because of an upper-body injury.
Boyle took advantage of Joe Pavelski 's screen at the top of the crease and beat Bryzgalov with a blast from the point at 4:15 of the first period. Clowe made it 2-0 with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle, thanks to another screen by Pavelski.
''We just felt the one thing we didn't want to do was get caught taking penalties early in the game,'' Gretzky said. ''That's exactly what happened.''
But Viktor Tikhanov notched his first NHL goal at 12:07, and Jokinen evened the score just 27 seconds later as the Coyotes quickly rallied against one of the League's top teams. Tikhonov cut San Jose's lead to 2-1 when he gained control of the puck behind the net, skated to the middle of the left faceoff circle and flung the puck around Brian Boucher's right skate and into the net at 12:07.
Jokinen followed 27 seconds later, when he gained control of a high rebound behind the net off a shot by Zbynek Michalek and beat a sprawled Boucher to the left post for the wraparound goal.
''You've just got to follow your instincts,'' Jokinen said. ''It was a good shot by Z to get the puck through. I saw a little opening, got a little lucky and it went in.''
''We had a letdown after we got up two-nothing,'' Boucher said. ''I think we were a little bit casual there and it cost us.''
It continued in the second period, when Peter Mueller gave Phoenix its first lead of the night at 2:02. With Phoenix on a power play, Mueller took a pass from Jokinen and blasted a shot from the point past Boucher to make it 3-2.
''It shows the character of this team,'' Mueller said of the rally. ''We wanted this win really bad and that's what we did.''
Jokinen rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 18 seconds remaining. The Coyotes were aided by a 4-minute high-sticking penalty on Boyle with 2:06 remaining and a hooking call against Marc-Edouard Vlasic 30 seconds later, leaving the Sharks short-handed in the closing minutes. Boyle caught Coyotes left wing Daniel Carcillo across the forehead as the players exited the Phoenix zone. Sharks coach Todd McLellan did not have a problem with the penalty.
''Danny was trying to create offense and got an errant stick up,'' McLellan said. ''That happens in this game. You can't blame him for it.''
Material from wire services was used in this report.    

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