GLENDALE, Ariz. – Lauri Korpikoski came up huge in a game the Phoenix Coyotes needed to win.
With the Coyotes in 12th place in the Western Conference and struggling for a playoff spot, Korpikoski scored twice in a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on 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 defenceman 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.”
The Sharks’ Patrick Marleau scored with 32 seconds left to pull San Jose within a goal, but the Coyotes’ Radim Vrbata scored into an empty net at 19:59 to cap the scoring.
The Coyotes picked up three goals on six shots in the second period, including Martin Hanzal’s winner with 46 seconds left. 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.
The goal was Hanzal’s first in nearly two months. During the stretch, he missed 12 games due to an 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.”
The Sharks struck first less than four 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 1-1.
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 2-2 before Hanzal scored in the final minute of the period.
“It wasn’t lack of offence,” 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.