The San Jose Sharks took care of business on Saturday night as they hosted a key divisional matchup against the Arizona Coyotes. With the Ducks already winning and the Coyotes trying to apply pressure as well, the Sharks responded in convincing fashion.
San Jose used a pair of first period goals and a strong third period to roll to a 4-1 victory over Arizona at SAP Center.
After a disastrous first 20 minutes against the Calgary Flames last time out, the Sharks seized control of the game with a solid opening frame that saw them score at either end of the period. Filling in for Brenden Dillon for the second straight game, Matt Tennyson scored his second of the season giving San Jose the early 1-0 lead just under three minutes into the contest.
It was the beginning of a great night from the Sharks fourth line who did some nice forechecking work down low to help setup Tennyson’s shot from the point.
San Jose would then strike with only 1:04 left in the first when Melker Karlsson found a streaking Brent Burns who took the puck around the Coyotes defense and found Chris Tierney in front for his seventh goal of the season. It was a great play by Burns and good positioning by Tierney who had an easy tap-in past Arizona netminder Louis Domingue.
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The Coyotes would respond in short order as the second began as Tobias Rieder threaded a beautiful pass through the Sharks defense to Martin Hanzal who beat Martin Jones on the far side for his eighth of the season, cutting the lead in half less than two minutes into the period. It was a perfectly placed shot from Hanzal, but one Jones probably would like to have back.
Fortunately, for San Jose it was the lone defensive mistake of the night as Jones and his defensive mates were steadfast the rest of the evening.
With the Sharks holding a one-goal advantage heading into the final period of action, San Jose went on the attack instead of sitting back. The Sharks appeared to re-establish their two-goal cushion when Tomas Hertl deflected a Marc-Edouard Vlasic wrister from the point but the goal was waived off due to a high-stick from Hertl.
The none goal didn’t deter Hertl however as 21 seconds later he redirected a Burns shot-pass from the high slot past Domingue for his 11th of the season. It was a deflating goal from an Arizona perspective as they appeared to have dodged a bullet, but Hertl made sure this one would count.
Joonas Donskoi would cap of the night with an empty-net goal on the power play as the Sharks sealed the two points. It was quite an impressive defensive showing from a San Jose team that was carved up by the Flames just two nights earlier.
The Sharks held a desperate Coyotes team to just one shot on goal during the third period. Let me repeat that, one shot on goal from a desperate Arizona team.
Jones continued his strong run of play, making 22 saves in this one, and he’s allowed just two goals against the Coyotes this season in 180 minutes of action.
San Jose now heads back on the road after securing three out of a possible four points on this brief home stand for their last extended trip of the season. The Sharks begin a five-game trip on Tuesday with a swing through the Sunshine State as they looks to continue their run of success away from home as the playoff push intensifies.