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Sharks rally to beat Coyotes 5-3

by Eric Gilmore /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Who needs a full training camp? Apparently not San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau.

Marleau stayed red-hot Thursday night, scoring two goals for the third straight game as the Sharks rallied to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3 in their home opener at HP Pavilion.

"There's a few that got stopped tonight, but you just got to stick with it and keep getting to those spots," Marleau said. "Joe [Thornton] is playing great right now. A couple empty nets. You take those. He's making great plays, great passes, and [Joe Pavelski] is playing well."

Marleau broke a 3-3 tie with 1:53 remaining in regulation when he took a pass from Pavelski and beat goalie Jason LaBarbera with a one-timer. Thornton scored an empty-netter with 2.8 seconds left to play as the Sharks won for the third time in as many games.

"Joe made a great play coming back," Marleau said. "He picked up a loose puck, and I kind of just took off, and he found Pav, and Pav was able to slide it over to me. I just tried to get it away as quick as possible."

Logan Couture and Martin Havlat also scored for the Sharks, who scored four unanswered goals after falling behind 3-1. Thornton had three assists, giving him eight for the season.

The Coyotes, now 1-3-0, got goals from Steve Sullivan, Antoine Vermette and Lauri Korpikoski. LaBarbera, starting in place of the injured Mike Smith, stopped 30 shots.

"We had the game under control and we just gave it away," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "We held them to two shots in the second period and were controlling every aspect of the game. I made a horrendous play on the fourth goal. You can't turn the puck over at the end of a shift."

The Coyotes and Sharks battled to a 1-1 tie through two periods, but Phoenix scored two quick goals in the third to grab a 3-1 lead.

Vermette put Phoenix ahead 2-1 at 5:01 with a power-play goal, beating Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi to the far side with a sharp-angled shot from the left circle. Korpikoski made it 3-1 at 7:28 by beating Niemi with another sharp-angled shot from the left side after Phoenix won a battle for the puck along the boards.

San Jose cut the lead to 3-2 with 10:45 left in the third when Marleau took Thornton's pass in the low slot and ripped a shot past LaBarbera. Havlat tied it at 13:06, jamming a rebound past LaBarbera from close range after a blast from Ryane Clowe.

"Once we get down, there's still belief in this team where we can come back from deficits like that because we know the skill and talent we have and the offensive capabilities of the players on this team that we can score goals in bunches like we did the other night in the first and tonight in the third," Couture said.

The Sharks scored six goals in the first period Tuesday in a 6-3 victory at Edmonton.

San Jose caught what appeared to be a good break when Smith missed the game with a lower body injury -- he left midway through the first period of the Coyotes' 5-1 victory against Columbus on Wednesday. Smith posted three of his eight shutouts against the Sharks last season. He had a 1.98 goals against average and .945 save percentage in six starts against San Jose.

LaBarbera was just 3-7-1 lifetime against the Sharks entering the game. But he was solid through the first two periods, picking up where he left off Thursday when he stopped 21 of 22 shots against Columbus.

The Sharks peppered LaBarbera with 15 shots in the first period -- thanks in large part to three power plays -- but scored only one goal. That came on a Couture tip-in at 19:22 on a power play with defenseman Derek Morris in the box for cross-checking San Jose's Justin Braun.

Thornton won a faceoff in the left circle, and Pavelski ripped a long shot from the point. Couture, planted in front of the crease, redirected the puck past LaBarbera.

The Sharks had plenty of opportunities to score earlier in the period, but LaBarbera turned away their first seven power play shots. Three of those came when the Sharks had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:21.

The Coyotes pulled even at 7:11 of the second when Sullivan scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal with Sharks forwards TJ Galiardi and Andrew Desjardins in the box for high-sticking. Galiardi earned a four-minute penalty after drawing blood from Korpikoski.

"It's a shame because we played so well for most of the game," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "In the third period we make a couple of errors and it cost us. It's hard to stomach. We have no time for learning. We need people to get in there and get the job done. We need to finish and we'll have to find people who can do that. That's a point wasted for sure."

After being outshot 15-9 in the first period, the Coyotes outshot San Jose 13-2 in the second. On their only power play of the period, the Sharks didn't put a single shot on goal.

Phoenix played the entire third period without center Matthew Lombardi, who suffered an upper body injury earlier in the game and did not return.

For the second straight game, the Coyotes were without second-line center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who are day-to-day with lower body injuries. They recalled goaltender Chad Johnson and defenseman David Rundblad from Portland of the AHL.

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