GLENDALE, Ariz. – Even when he’s only out to forecheck, Patrick Marleau seems to find a way to score.
Marleau scored two more goals to stay in the NHL lead with 31 and added an assist to help lead the San Jose Sharks past the slumping Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 Tuesday night.
Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera went behind his own net to stop the puck for a defenceman only to watch the puck spin off his blade and drift into the crease. Marleau won the race to the puck, tapping it in at 11:24 of the first for a short-handed goal.
“On the penalty kill you’re trying to get pressure up front,” Marleau said. “I knew (Rob) Blake got it down low and I was just trying to get a good chase on it and saw the puck bounce out. I’ll take those. I’ll take them all night.”
Marleau added a power-play goal at 18:06, barely touching a rolling puck originally shot by Dan Boyle from the left point.
“There was a tip and a tip and I just got enough of my stick on it,” Marleau said.
Dany Heatley scored his 27th goal and Joe Thornton added his league-leading 49th assist for the Sharks, who won their second straight and third in a row over the Coyotes.
In addition to scoring the short-handed goal, the Sharks killed off all seven Phoenix power-plays.
“The significance is we’ve played three games in four nights, they were rested and we took some penalties and were able to get by,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. “Our penalty kill gives us a chance to win every night.”
The Coyotes, who had pulled within three points of the Sharks for the Pacific Division lead two weeks ago lost for the fifth time in six games (1-3-2) to fall 10 points behind San Jose. Phoenix has lost three straight for the first time this season.
“We’re not in rhythm right now,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “There are some mistakes going against us and like we’ve talked about since the start of the year our margin for error is very slim on most nights.”
Phoenix has lost three straight for the first time this season.
“The last few games we’ve kind of dropped the ball and we have to be a lot better than what we’ve showed on the last couple,” said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. “It’s hard. If you could put your finger on it you’d change it but it’s probably a little bit of everything.”
Heatley made it 3-0 at 12:49 of the second, scoring on a rebound of his own shot as he was knocked off his skates at the top of the Phoenix crease.
Radim Vrbata cut the lead to 3-1 with 8:10 remaining when he shot from the outside hashes of the left faceoff circle went off Evgeni Nabakov and into the net for his 14th goal.
Notes: Phoenix has dropped four straight at home – two in regulation – since winning a franchise-record 10 straight games at Jobing.com Arena. … Marleau has six goals in his last five games. … The Coyotes were without defenceman Ed Jovanovski, who was suspended two games by the league for elbowing John Tavares in the chin Saturday night.