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Sharks edge Coyotes on Dillon's goal

by Jerry Brown /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon remembers his last NHL goal very clearly: it was on a February night in 2014 when he was still with the Dallas Stars and he scored against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"You should have seen that one, it was a little bit nicer," Dillon said. "I came off the rush and I looked like a 20-goal scorer. I wish they were all that pretty."

His first goal as a member of the Sharks wasn't as artistic, but it was pretty important. He snapped a 62-game drought when shot a puck off the sideboards and into the net with 14:45 left in the third period to give the Sharks a 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.

Dillon ran down a puck along the boards, turned and threw a shot toward the net. Arizona defenseman Zbynek Michalek tried to block the shot, but it got just enough of his skate to change direction and slip between the pads of sliding goalie Devan Dubnyk.

"I'll save this puck. It was the first goal with the Sharks and it was a big one," said Dillon, who was acquired from the Stars on Nov. 21. "It's nice to get that off my chest. I've been working on shooting and getting pucks on the net and to get a bounce like that is exciting."

Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl also had goals and goalie Antti Niemi made 26 saves for the Sharks (23-16-5), who were outscored 10-3 in losses to the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers before getting back on track against Arizona.

"It was an evenly played game and it was up to which team could elevate their game a little bit," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "We'll take the bounce that went our way and move on. I talked to Brenden about 10 days ago on his ability to shoot the puck and wanting to shoot and believing he can get it through. It was good to see him rewarded."

For Michalek, playing for the first time in three games after an upper-body injury, there was no reward.

"You hate to lose on a goal like that, especially because I thought we battled hard," Michalek said. "You feel like whatever you do, nothing goes your way. We just have to fight through it. We've said it many times. Nobody is going to give us anything for free."

Mikkel Boedker scored his fourth goal in three games and Shane Doan also scored for the Coyotes (16-22-4), who lost for the 14th time in 23 games at Gila River Arena this season. Dubnyk made 23 saves.

"We played a great hockey game and a disappointing bounce costs us," Dubnyk said. "You make a read on a shot off the wall that probably not on net and we get an unfortunate bounce. It's a disappointing finish and to have one like that go in is frustrating."

The Coyotes' past three losses were by a combined 17-1 score, but this game was tight throughout.

"Our effort was excellent. We competed hard but came up a little short," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "We get beat by a goal that goes off our toe, which is an unfortunate break. When your margin for error is very slim and you're hopefully in tight games, you have to give yourself a chance to win by doing the right things."

The Coyotes played a strong first period, outshooting the Sharks 11-8 and getting a goal from their hottest player.

Seconds after Doan limped off the ice after taking a hard shot off his foot, Boedker was about to head off for a line change when the puck followed him to the San Jose blue line. He curled back to the Sharks' net, stickhandled around a defenseman and beat Niemi at 14:19. It was Boedker's team-leading 13th goal of the season, and the fourth consecutive shot on which he scored a goal.

"I'm getting good looks and it's nice to get the points, but it's overshadowed when we lose," Boedker said.

The Sharks used a carry-over penalty on Doan to jump-start a great start to the second period.

Pavelski wound up with the puck on a set play at the right circle and Michalek got caught in front of Dubnyk. Pavelski used the screen and beat Dubnyk with a wrist shot 30 seconds into the period for his 22nd goal of the season. He leads the NHL with 11 power-play goals and has 20 goals and 40 points in 47 career games against the Coyotes.

"When we fall down early, the guys don't quit and we keep going," Pavelski said. "It was good to cash in quickly there in the second and know that we were all ready to go. There were good chances on both sides tonight."

San Jose took the lead 1:03 later. Brent Burns took a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the point and spotted Hertl to the left of the net. Burns put a shot-pass right on the tape and Hertl deflected it past Dubnyk at 1:33 to put the Sharks in front. Hertl's eighth goal of the season was his first in 12 games, dating to Dec. 13 at Nashville.

But the Coyotes recovered, regained their composure and the top line came up with a game-tying goal.

Antoine Vermette centered a pass for Martin Erat, but the puck deflected off Logan Couture's skate and found Doan at the edge of the left crease. Doan's backhander trickled past Niemi at 11:00 for his 10th goal to tie the game 2-2. Doan now has 10 or more goals in 15 straight seasons.

The Sharks appeared to take a late-period lead when the puck bounced off several skates and finally the stick of Matt Nieto before sliding across the line with 37.5 seconds remaining. But the net had come off its moorings several seconds earlier, and Nieto's goal was washed out.

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