SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Brian Boucher was unimpressed with the Phoenix
Coyotes' effort in the first four periods of back-to-back games against San
Jose, so the goalie decided to set a good example.
Boucher made 34 saves, Ladislav Nagy scored the go-ahead goal and the
Coyotes snapped a five-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory over the Sharks
on Thursday night.
Mike Sillinger also scored for the Coyotes, who snapped the Sharks'
four-game winning streak a day after San Jose beat Phoenix 4-2 in Arizona.
Boucher was outstanding in his first victory since recording his fifth
straight shutout earlier in the month. He prevented San Jose from making its
usual fast start with 12 saves in the first period, and he made several big
saves on San Jose's 15 shots in the scoreless third period.
Boucher echoed coach Bob Francis' complaints about his teammates' effort in
their loss Wednesday night, when Sean Burke was in the Coyotes' net.
``Last night was an uninspired effort, and that's not acceptable around
here,'' Boucher said. ``We're a team that's scrapping for the eighth spot (in
the playoffs). San Jose has a big lead, and the division seems out of reach. We
have to make every game count if we want the games after the All-Star break to
count for anything.''
Phoenix scored two goals in seven minutes during the second period, and
Boucher made them stand up. It could be a springboard victory for the Coyotes,
who moved into 10th place in the Western Conference with their next six games
all at home.
``In the first period, we weren't much better than we were last night,''
Francis said. ``Sometimes you go through spells and you start questioning
yourself, and I think we're doing a little bit of that.''
Wayne Primeau scored for the Sharks, who wasted a chance to pad their
healthy lead in the Pacific Division against a spiraling opponent. They were a
step slow for much of the night, and their power-play slump extended to
1-for-34 in just their third regulation loss in 17 games.
``They were hungry for five or six minutes in the second, and that's all it
took,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. ``We have to learn a lesson that all the
fancy (stuff) we built into the game last night and tonight ... will always
come back to haunt you.''
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 18 shots for the Sharks, who failed to earn a point
at home for just the second time in 18 games. Nabokov was solid, but he
probably should have stopped Nagy's team-leading 21st goal on a wraparound shot
midway through the second period.
Nagy, the NHL's eighth-leading goal scorer, wasn't chosen to the West
``It was a lucky goal, because I didn't see it _ I just shot it,'' Nagy
said. ``I don't know what's happening to us in the first period, but we had a
much better effort after that.''
Phoenix managed just three shots in the first period but took a 1-0 lead
early in the second when Sillinger followed a rebound of Jeff Taffe's breakaway
chance, muscling the puck under Nabokov. It was Sillinger's first goal in 22
games since Nov. 30.
Less than four minutes later, Primeau snapped his own 28-game goal-scoring
drought by tipping Niko Dimitrakos' excellent pass past Boucher. Primeau, the
younger brother of Philadelphia All-Star Keith Primeau, has earned raves for
his checking and defense this season, but he hadn't scored a goal since Nov.
``We just couldn't get the break we needed to get one past (Boucher),''
Primeau said. ``It's disappointing, but a lot of the effort we need was still
Patrick Marleau, the Sharks' leading scorer, was awarded his first All-Star
berth earlier in the day. Coyotes captain Shane Doan also will make his first