San Jose looked for some revenge against the Coyotes, but instead suffered their worst loss of the season. Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala both were in net for numerous goals in the 8-0 final in Glendale, Arizona. It was a night where everything that could go wrong did, including Ron Wilson being ejected.
The game did not start as desired, for a quick Phoenix tally gave the hosts a lead just 3:18 into the contest. On the play, Jeremy Roenick jumped on a turnover at the blueline and skated in alone on Nabokov. The former all-star center made a strong spinning move for the unassisted goal.
In the later half of the first, the Sharks were outshooting Phoenix 12-2, but when the Coyotes placed their third shot on net, they took a 2-0 lead. What had been a struggling Phoenix power play this season scored on their first effort and it was posted by Zbynek Michalek, the elder brother of the Sharks Milan Michalek.
Phoenix made it 3-0 on their fourth shot of the night, despite the 13 Sharks shots on the period that couldn’t produce a mark. This time Shane Doan picked up a loose rebound for the goal. Nabokov really had no chance on any goal, but Sharks bench boss Ron Wilson looked to shake up his club by inserting Vesa Toskala.
The Sharks would have to build on the fact that they were playing hard if they wanted to make a three-goal rally. San Jose had 19 first period shots and if that continued, it would be virtually impossible to keep them off the scoreboard. Obviously, that was not the case.
San Jose killed off the remainder of a Phoenix power play, but the next tally would still come from the home team. A Travis Roche shot became goal number four halfway into the contest.
The bad part for San Jose was the Coyotes weren’t close to being done. This time is was Doan ramming the puck toward the net and Ladislav Nagy punched in the loose vulcanized rubber for his 100th career tally. Now it was a 5-0 deficit.
When Joe Thornton
and Saprykin collided in the second (for a second time), Saprykin took the worst of it and Thornton, as well as Ron Wilson, were both given two minutes. Phoenix made a quick statement by adding their sixth tally on the night, tying the most goals the Sharks had surrendered in any game this season. Wilson was subsequently ejected from the game and Tim Hunter took control on the bench.
A big hit by Steve Bernier on Zbynek Michalek saw Matt Jones then come in and jump Bernier. There technically was not a fight, but Jones received four additional minutes and San Jose would begin the final stanza with an extended power play. Jones received the double minor for starting a scrap while wearing a visor.
When the Sharks couldn’t solve Curtis Joseph on the power play to begin the third, Mark Smith provided a different kind of highlight. The gritty Eyebrow, Sask. native had an extended bout with Josh Gratton that saw both players land big hits.
The Yotes would add a late third period tally when Roenick connected from far out, making it 7-0, but there was one more dagger in the Sharks heart.
Roenick would add icing to Phoenix’s cake when he skated down controlling a two-on-one and beat Toskala for the hat track and the Sharks had to watch the celebrating Coyote fans. It was Roenick’s first hat trick in five years.
The only silver lining for San Jose in the 8-0 loss was that they would have a chance to forget it in less than 24 hours. Team Teal will play in Dallas Sunday at 5 p.m. with the game on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.