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Coyotes finally score against San Jose, beating Sharks 3-2 in shootout

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Phoenix Coyotes went more than 13 periods between their first two goals against Evgeni Nabokov and the San Jose Sharks this season. So when they were down a goal and short-handed in the final minute, their chances didn't appear to be too good.

Then Shane Doan scored a short-handed goal to tie the game with 41.5 seconds left in regulation and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all three shots in the shootout to help the Coyotes snap an eight-game losing streak to the Sharks with a 3-2 victory Thursday night.

"With everything that's happened against these guys this year, this was a big one for us," Doan said. "We knew they had given it to us pretty good in the previous games and we were at the end of a long trip and we didn't want to go home halfway. We wanted to finish the whole trip, and it was big for us."

Peter Mueller scored on the first shot of the shootout for Phoenix, and Bryzgalov made it stand up, stopping Torrey Mitchell on the final shot to clinch the Coyotes' fourth straight win.

Finishing it with a win against the Sharks was especially sweet. Since Steven Reinprecht scored for Phoenix in the first period of the first meeting between the teams this season, San Jose had scored 16 straight goals in winning the first four games.

The Coyotes' scoreless streak against Nabokov reached 271 minutes, 20 seconds before Mike York scored on the power play 33 seconds into the third period. It was the longest scoreless stretch for one goalie against a single opponent since Buffalo's Dominik Hasek blanked the New York Rangers for 281:57 between Nov. 28, 1997, and Nov. 25, 1998.

"It was good to break that thing and for us to know we could score on that goalie," Mueller said. "I think we proved a point. We have great guys in the room who will never quit. We'll never back down against any team. This was a great example of that."

York's goal looked like it would be all the Coyotes would get when Keith Ballard was called for cross-checking with 51 seconds left and Phoenix trailing 2-1. But Doan tied it 10 seconds later with a shot from just inside the blue line.

"We've got some guys who should be ashamed at the way they played," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "There were four or five guys we count on and they weren't ready to play. On a power play we gave up the puck on a faceoff and that's embarrassing."

Bryzgalov then sent the game into overtime when he stopped Patrick Marleau from in close in the final seconds of regulation. Bryzgalov finished with 36 saves.

In the shootout, Joe Pavelski hit the post on San Jose's first shot, before Bryzgalov stopped Marleau and Mitchell to earn the win. The Coyotes went 5-1 on a season-high, six-game road trip, that began in Los Angeles on Dec. 8 and had four games on the East Coast before ending in California.

"Start on the West Coast, come back to the West Coast and to play against a team as good as their team is, with as much talent, depth, size and speed as they have," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "I was just so proud of how hard my guys played tonight. They played with a lot of heart and character."

The game was scoreless through two periods before really getting interesting. Mitchell tied it for San Jose less than two minutes after York's goal when he knocked in a pass from Mike Grier to beat Bryzgalov.

Then, after Nabokov covered up the puck at the other end, a fight broke out that helped lead to the Sharks' go-ahead goal. Daniel Carcillo was wrestling with Jeremy Roenick before peeling off to join a fight between Steve Bernier and Nicholas Boynton. Carcillo got a game misconduct and a fighting penalty that gave the Sharks a five-minute power play and sent Gretzky into a screaming rage on the bench.

Bernier and Patrick Marleau also got fighting penalties for San Jose, while Boynton and Joel Perrault received majors for Phoenix.

Keith Ballard was called for roughing on the ensuing power play, giving the Sharks a two-man advantage. Roenick, who spent last season with the Coyotes, capitalized and beat Bryzgalov with a shot from the side of the goal to make it 2-1.

That was San Jose's only power-play goal in nine chances, continuing a season-long struggle at home with the man advantage. The Sharks have scored on only 12 of 85 power-play chances at home this season.

Nabokov finished with 35 saves, but couldn't close it out in the final minute.

"That's a tough break," he said. "It's happened too often. To give up a goal with 40 seconds to go being on a power play shouldn't happen. It's frustrating."

Notes: San Jose's Joe Thornton double-shifted much of the night, playing 31:01 for the game. His assist on Roenick's goal was his 700th NHL point. ... Roenick, who missed the previous five games with a knee injury, scored his 502nd career goal.



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