The San Jose Sharks traveled to Phoenix Thursday night to take on the Coyotes at Glendale Arena. Despite a gritty performance by Jonathan Cheecho, the Sharks fell to the Coyotes, 4-2.
San Jose sent Evgeni Nabokov to the net to square off against Curtis Joseph.
It took just 1:30 for the Sharks to take the early 1-0 lead when a good forecheck by Alyn McCauley caused the Coyotes to turn a puck over deep in their own zone. Patrick Marleau
took the puck and backhanded a shot top shelf past Joseph and the Sharks were ahead just like that.
Four minutes into the contest, Dave Scatchard was sent to the penalty box for hooking. Joseph made an unbelievable save on an attempt by Scott Thornton early in the advantage, but the Coyotes killed the rest of the penalty without any harm.
Seven minutes into the game Cheechoo took a puck to the face and immediately headed for the bench. The right winger wouldn’t return for the rest of the stanza.
Midway through the first, Doug Murray was sent to the box for interference, giving the Coyotes their first man advantage of the night. The Sharks held off Phoenix for as long as they could, but with eight seconds remaining on the power play, Jamie Lundmark slipped a puck past Nabokov after nearly two full minutes of puck movement in San Jose’s end. The goal tied the game at one.
With just over two minutes remaining in the opening frame Marleau was sent to the box for hooking. Murray laid out Ladislav Nagy along the boards, causing Shane Doan to shove Murray, resulting in a brief scrap. Murray dropped the gloves and unstrapped his helmet as Doan charged him, but the big defenseman sent him immediately to the ice.
The remainder of the Marleau penalty was killed off and so was the first period, as the teams skated to the lockerroom tied at one.
Coming out of the intermission, it was Milan Michalek who made a move on his brother Zbynek, proceeding to fire a slapshot on goal, but Joseph swallowed the attempt.
Cheechoo returned to the ice three minutes into the second after having stitches and dental work done.
Scott Thornton was sent to the box four minutes into the second after being whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct. Phoenix couldn’t capitalize on the advantage and either could San Jose when just seconds after Thornton’s penalty expired, Scatchard was sent to the box.
San Jose was forced to kill off another Coyotes man advantage after Christian Ehrhoff went off for hooking. But the Sharks would tighten up their defense, killing their third straight penalty.
The Sharks fought of two solid rushes in the closing minutes of the second period, but the game remained tied at one with twenty minutes left to play.
Both teams came out in the third looking to gain the one goal advantage. It was Phoenix that would get the first good crack at it when Josh Langfeld was penalized for holding the stick. With 44 seconds left on the power play, Scott Hannan was sent to the box for hooking and the Coyotes had the five-on-three advantage.
Just ten seconds into the two man advantage, Mike Comrie put a loose puck past Nabokov after the netminder turned away two great chances. The Coyotes now led 2-1 with just under 17 minutes left in the third.
The Sharks had the next chance when Denis Gauthier took a high sticking penalty on Joe Thornton
. Cheechoo ripped a shot on goal that was stabbed with Joseph’s glove hand, but that was the best opportunity they would have during the two minute span, as Phoenix kept clearing the zone.
With 6:25 left on the clock, the Coyotes looked as if they extended their lead to two when former Shark Mike Ricci put a puck in the back of the net. But after reviewing the goal upstairs, the refs ruled that Ricci kicked the puck in and the crew disallowed the goal.
Nabokov left the net with 1:30 left on the clock in favor of the extra attacker. With 24 seconds left, Nagy was sent to the box for cross checking Cheechoo. The Sharks had one last chance to tie the game, but despite two good shots on goal, the Coyotes skated off with the 2-1 victory.