Korpikoski scores 2 to lead Predators over Sharks

The Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) This was a game the Phoenix Coyotes needed to win.

In 12th place in the Western Conference and struggling for a playoff spot, the Coyotes got two goals from Lauri Korpikoski and beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 Saturday night.

With one of the worst home records in the league, Phoenix picked up only its 11th win at home this season - good for 26 points. Only Montreal and Columbus have fewer points at home.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for San Jose, while the Coyotes won for the second time in their last six games.

''San Jose is one of the top teams in the conference, and this is a quality win,'' said Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle. ''We harped for three days in practice of being a better and more consistent team and (against San Jose), we did a great job of execution.''

Down by two goals late, the Sharks' Patrick Marleau scored with 32 seconds left, but the Coyotes' Radim Vrbata scored at 19:59 to restore the two-goal edge.

In the middle period, the Coyotes picked up three goals on six shots to take a one-goal lead into the final session.

Late in the second period, Martin Hanzal scored the winner. Taking a pass from Ray Whitney in the left circle, Hanzal drove the puck into the upper left corner of the net for his sixth of the season with 46 seconds left in the second, and that put Phoenix ahead for good.

The goal was Hanzal's first in nearly two months. During the stretch, he missed 12 games due to upper-body injury.

''I saw the goalie coming toward me, so I shot for the far side,'' Hanzal said. ''It's a great feeling to score after missing so many games.''

Coming into the game, the Sharks allowed two goals in their last three games, and the defense continued to shut down the opposition. In the first 11 minutes Saturday, the Sharks limited Phoenix to two shots on Antti Niemi, but eventually ended the opening session with 11 shots on net.

Just before the first period ended, the Coyotes had the best chance to break a scoreless tie. With a power-play opportunity winding down, Adrian Aucoin's shot from the right point hit the left post and deflected wide.

The Sharks struck first less than 4 minutes into the second period, but the Coyotes responded with the equalizer 32 seconds later.

First, Logan Couture's shot from outside the crease trickled off goalie Mike Smith's pads and into the net for Couture's 22nd of the season. Then Raffi Torres quickly drilled a 30-foot slap shot from the slot past Niemi at 4:16 to knot the score at 1-all.

Phoenix then surged ahead when, falling to his knees, Korpikoski's shot from the slot ripped past Niemi midway through the second period. Korpikoski added his second of the game when he converted a pass from Boyd Gordon in front of the net with 8:03 left in the game.

Jamie McGinn's power-play goal tied it at 2 before Hanzal scored in the final minute of the period.

''It wasn't lack of offense,'' said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. ''We had a number of chances and ended up with three at the end. We were not competitive at the times we needed to be competitive.''

NOTES: Phoenix D Oliver Ekman-Larsson played in his 100th NHL game. ... The two assists by the Sharks' Ryane Clowe were his first two point game since Dec. 21 against Tampa Bay. ... Hanzal's goal was his first since Dec. 14 at Anaheim. ... Gordon picked up three assists, a career high. ... The Sharks return home for two games before an eight-game Eastern trip.

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