GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)—The San Jose Sharks showed they are one of the NHL’s better defensive teams.
Steve Bernier and Patrick Marleau scored in the second period, and Vesa Toskala stopped all 25 shots he faced in the last two periods after replacing Evgeni Nabokov as the Sharks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 Saturday night.
San Jose, outshot 39-18 for the game, blanked the Coyotes over the final 41 minutes and limited their scoring opportunities.
“Getting outshot is not a significant factor,” said Nabokov, who left due to a stiff neck after making 13 saves in the opening period. “It’s the quality chances that you want to eliminate, and then it’s up to the goalie to see the puck and make the save. So far, our defense has been solid, and that makes my job easier.”
The Sharks came into the game tied with Anaheim for fourth in goals allowed. Only Detroit, Minnesota and Dallas gave up fewer goals.
“Our defense is doing an outstanding job, but we need to clean up some little things,” San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. “The wingers are turning the pucks over and that’s not acceptable. Sure, we picked up the two points, but have to figure out how we can do things better and improve.”
Both teams squandered two-man advantages in the first period.
Phoenix managed only two shots during their opportunity lasting 1:39, wasting valuable time while trying to make the perfect pass. Just after the failed opportunity, the Coyotes’ Donald MacLean appeared to score, but referee Mike Hasenfrantz immediately waived off the tally because MacLean kicked the puck crashing in from the slot.
The Sharks were then unable to score during their two-man opportunity for 57 seconds after Phoenix was whistled for too many men on the ice while Patrick Fischer was off for tripping.
Bernier tied the score with his fifth goal of the season, deflecting a pass from Scott Hannan at 3:58 of the second period. Marleau then drilled a slap shot over Phoenix goal tender Curtis Joseph’s right shoulder at 10:34 for his 11th of the season.
Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky acknowledged his team played well, but wasn’t pleased with the result.
“If we were 9-4 instead of 4-11, you might say, ‘Oh well, we played well. Let’s get ready for our next game,”’ he said. “We can’t afford to give any points away. Our effort was strong, but that’s not good enough.”
Perreault’s goal was his first with Phoenix after signing a one-year deal with the Coyotes on October 30. … Both teams were 0-for-4 on the power play. … The Coyotes’ Dave Scatchard left the game in the third period with a leg injury, and did not return. … The crowd was announced at 15,036, the third crowd above 15,000. The Coyotes have not sold out a home game this season.