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McLellan wins 300th game, Sharks defeat Coyotes

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With his slumping team down by two goals after one period and making mistakes all over the ice, it looked like San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan would have to wait even longer for his 300th NHL coaching victory.

But forward Joe Pavelski had his fourth career hat trick, Barclay Goodrow broke a 2-2 tie 6:23 into the third period and the Sharks rallied for a 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Friday to give McLellan his 300th win in his fourth try.

McLellan reached the milestone in 515 games, the second-fastest in NHL history. Only Bruce Boudreau (496 games with the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks) did it faster. But the past week was a waiting game after the Sharks were swept in a three-game homestand.

"We aren’t very happy that we made (McLellan) wait as long as we did," Pavelski said. "Hopefully No. 301 will come a lot quicker."

Pavelski has nine goals in his past 11 games, and nine goals in his past seven games against the Coyotes. He scored twice in the second period tie the game at 2-2 and added his team-leading 31st into an empty net with 1:26 remaining.

Center Joe Thornton assisted on all three Pavelski goals, and San Jose (29-20-8), ended a three-game losing streak winning for the second time in its past six games to remain in second place in the Pacific Division.

"There aren't many nights that (Pavelski) doesn't bring that emotion and drive to the game," McLellan said. "He and a couple of others are our poster children for preparation and professionalism.

"If I'm a young player or an old player, I'm taking a look his way and asking 'What is this guy doing, and am I emulating it?' And if I'm not, I should be banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why not."

McLellan was happy to reach 300 wins, but for a different reason.

"The important number for us tonight was 29 in the win column," he said. "The players play and they are the most important guys. It's like being a father, when you see them play the way they are capable you're really proud of them and when they're not, you're really disappointed."

San Jose goalie Antti Niemi held Arizona scoreless after the first period making 32 saves and added an assist on Goodrow's goal.

Mike Smith made 22 saves for Arizona (20-29-7).

Since Dec. 22, the Sharks are 8-0-0 when allowing two goals or fewer.

"We had a very bad start and we don't ever want to get it to the point where we have to (comeback) like that," Pavelski said. "It's not always going to happen but tonight it did for us. If we think we're going to play a soft, lateral game and get the two points it's not going to happen. Our start in the first was terrible, by all of us."

Forward Mark Arcobello, claimed on waivers by Arizona on Wednesday, scored in his Coyotes debut on his first shift at 1:42. It was his ninth goal of the season, which has included stops with the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins.

"Obviously it felt good to score there and get that one out of the way right away," Arcobello said.

Martin Erat scored a power-play goal at 15:07 to put the Sharks in a 2-0 hole. It was the 16th allowed by San Jose in the past 10 periods.

"The first period was a poor as we could play, to a man. There was a lot of soul-searching between periods there," Sharks center Tommy Wingels said. "We talked about what we are going to do as a team, what does each guy needs to do. And when you look back at a game like this, we pulled through. We found a way to play hard when we didn't have our best, and that’s what you have to do in this same."

San Jose and Pavelski needed 27 seconds of the second period to cut the Arizona lead in half. His pass intended for Logan Couture at the far post caught the blade of Coyote defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson's stick and ricocheted up and past Smith to make it 2-1.

Midway through the period, Ekman-Larsson and fellow defenseman Michael Stone took penalties 1:51 apart and San Jose capitalized against an Arizona penalty kill that had killed off 42 of the past 46 power plays.

Logan Couture found Pavelski to the left of the net and he snapped a shot under the crossbar at 13:09 for his 16th power-play goal. It gave Pavelski back-to-back 30 goals seasons; he had a career-high 41 in 2013-14.

"People asked me about the best goal-scorer in the league, and I think we've got him here," Wingels said of Pavelski. "You see him score on tips, up-top, on deflections, in close and out high. He can do it all. It's a testament to his craft and how hard he works. It doesn’t come overnight."

The game was tied 2-2 entering the third before Goodrow took advantage of Arizona defenseman Andrew Campbell's failed hold in at the San Jose blue line and rushed in with Andrew Desjardins. Goodrow held the puck before his shot went between Smith's shoulder and the near post to give the Sharks the lead for good.

"(Desjardins) did a good job to get the puck behind the defense and I was able to skate on to it," Goodrow said. "I was looking for the pass and I think Smith thought I was going to pass, too, and opened up the short side a little bit."

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