Coyotes 3, Sharks 2 (OT)

Ross McKeon, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Phoenix center Antoine Vermette beat San Jose goalie Antti Niemi with a backhand shot in the fifth round of the shootout to give the Coyotes a 3-2 victory on Saturday night, handing the Sharks their first loss at home in six tries.
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith stopped four of five San Jose shooters in the shootout as Phoenix won for the sixth time in seven games.
A scoreless third period in which the hosts outshot the visitors 19-9 preceded overtime. Each team had an early-period power play but both were unable to convert.
Phoenix had the only seven shots of overtime after getting outshot 50-23 during regulation.
The score was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes as the Sharks dominated the second period, scoring two goals while outshooting Phoenix 15-7.
Sharks center Joe Pavelski scored his sixth goal of the season 1:16 into the second period to tie it 1-1. He capped a two-on-one break with Phoenix defensemen Keith Yandle and Derek Morris caught up the ice.
San Jose went ahead on Dan Boyle's power-play goal at 5:10. Like Pavelski, Boyle shot over the left glove of Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. It was the defenseman's second goal of the season.
Sharks center Joe Thornton collected his 800th career assist on the goal.
The Coyotes scored before mid-period to re-tie it as Mikkel Boedker skated wide along the right-wing boards against San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and slipped a bad angle shot under the paddle of San Jose goalie Antti Niemi at 8:57 on Phoenix's first shot of the period.
The Sharks compiled 16 of their 31 shots through 40 minutes on five power plays.
Despite outshooting Phoenix 16-7 during the opening 20 minutes, the Sharks struggled to find their legs and didn't play as fast as the home crowd has come accustomed to seeing early on.
The Coyotes scored the period's only goal just 36 seconds after the opening faceoff, a chance created when Boyle turned the puck over to Coyotes winger Rob Klinhammer just outside the Sharks' blue line. Vermette capped the scoring sequence with his fifth goal of the season on a shot from the edge of the left circle that beat Niemi low to the glove side.
The Sharks piled up half of their first-period shots on three failed power plays, including putting six shots on Smith during consecutive power plays late in the period when Phoenix's Radim Vrbata earned a double-minor high-sticking penalty for opening a cut on the nose of Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan.
NOTES: Boyle returned to the San Jose blue line after missing seven games because of a head injury sustained Oct. 15. The Sharks went 4-1-2 without Boyle but missed him in a power play that was just 2-for-15 in the last five before Saturday. "He's maybe one of the top two or three quarterback defensemen in the league," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "It's his poise, his experience, his knowledge and reads of what's going on." ... Phoenix C Mike Ribeiro appeared in his 800th career game Saturday. ... Sharks rookie LW Matt Nieto played after missing three games with a hand injury sustained Oct. 24 while blocking a shot. ... The Coyotes came into the game with defensemen contributing at least three points in five straight games. Phoenix led the league in blue-line scoring with 12 goals and 40 points. ... D Matt Irwin and RW Mike Brown were healthy scratches, and RW Brent Burns (face), RW Raffi Torres (knee) and RW Adam Burish (back) remain injured for San Jose. ... Phoenix LW Paul Bissonnette and D Brandon Gormley did not dress. D Rostislav Klesla (lower body), C Jeff Halpern (upper body) and D David Schlemko (lower body) remain out.

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