Sharks 5, Coyotes 3

Associated Press | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Sharks coach Todd McLellan's decision to start the season with familiar lines from a year ago is paying early dividends for San Jose.

Patrick Marleau scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:53 remaining for his third straight two-goal game, helping the Sharks rally from a two-goal deficit to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3 in their home opener Thursday night.

Joe Thornton added three assists - getting one on each of Marleau's scores - and an empty-net goal as San Jose's two biggest stars appear in midseason form already. Marleau has six goals and two assists and Thornton has one goal and eight assists as the Sharks have opened the season with three straight wins for the first time since 2008-09.

"They're clicking," McLellan said. "They had big nights tonight. Teams are going to count on their big guys to get the job done. Ours are producing right now."

Logan Couture and Marty Havlat also scored for San Jose. Antti Niemi made 32 saves.

Steve Sullivan, Antoine Vermette and Lauri Korpikoski scored for the Coyotes, unable to hold onto a 3-1 lead in the third period on the back end of a back-to-back.

"It's a shame because we played so well for most of the game," coach Dave Tippett said. "In the third period we make a couple of errors and it cost us. It's hard to stomach. We have no time for learning. We need people to get in there and get the job done. We need to finish and we'll have to find people who can do that. That's a point wasted for sure."

Marleau started San Jose's comeback with a goal midway through the third and then beat Jason LaBarbera for the game-winner. Thornton started the play with a sharp up-ice pass to Joe Pavelski, who fed Marleau for the wrist shot.

"Joe made a great play coming back," Marleau said. "He picked up a loose puck, and I kind of just took off, and he found Pav, and Pav was able to slide it over to me. I just tried to get it away as quick as possible."

The Coyotes seemed to take control with two goals in a span of 2:27 of the third to take a 3-1 lead. The outburst started when Sullivan came out of the penalty box to start a 15-second power play that Phoenix capitalized on. Sullivan's shot was blocked but Vermette knocked the rebound past Niemi, who was off-balance after Shane Doan was knocked into him by a Sharks defender.

While Niemi had little chance to stop that shot, he did a poor job on Phoenix's next goal when Korpikoski beat him to the short side from a bad angle to give the Coyotes a two-goal edge.

"Once we get down, there's still belief in this team where we can come back from deficits like that because we know the skill and talent we have and the offensive capabilities of the players on this team that we can score goals in bunches," Couture said.

That proved to be true as Marleau took a pass from Thornton in the slot and beat LaBarbera to make it 3-2. Havlat then got the equalizer when he knocked in a rebound with 6:54 remaining, and Marleau provided the game-winner.

"We had the game under control and we just gave it away," Doan said.

After beating Calgary and Edmonton in their home openers to begin the season, the Sharks got their long-awaited chance to play before their own fans for the first time in more than nine months because of the four-month NHL lockout.

San Jose got a break when Phoenix goalie Mike Smith was scratched with a lower-body injury. Smith, who became the first goalie to shut out the Sharks three times in one season a year ago, left Wednesday's win over Columbus in the first period with the injury.

LaBarbera was up to the task early as the Sharks used the energy from the crowd to get off to a fast start. San Jose took 12 of the game's first 13 shots, including seven during a 2:39 stretch on the power play that included 1:22 of 5-on-3 time.

San Jose took advantage of its next power-play chance when Derek Morris was sent off in the final minute of the period for cross-checking Justin Braun. Thornton won a faceoff from Boyd Gordon and got the puck to Pavelski at the point. Pavelski's shot was tipped by Couture into the net for the Sharks' sixth power-play goal of the season.

The Coyotes equalized in the second period when Sullivan scored 1:48 into the two-man advantage for his fourth goal in two nights.

NOTES: The Sharks played a video tribute to the team's original owner, George Gund III, who died this month from cancer. ... Matthew Irwin got his first career point with an assist on Marleau's first goal. ... F Scott Gomez, signed Wednesday by San Jose, did not dress. ... Coyotes C Matthew Lombardi left in the second period with an upper-body injury.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
19:22SJS PPG - Logan Couture (3) ASST: Joe Pavelski (5), Joe Thornton (6) 1 - 0 SJS
2nd Period
07:11PHX PPG - Steve Sullivan (4) ASST: Radim Vrbata (2), Mikkel Boedker (4) 1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
05:01PHX PPG - Antoine Vermette (2) ASST: Steve Sullivan (1), Derek Morris (3) 2 - 1 PHX
07:28PHX Lauri Korpikoski (2) ASST: Boyd Gordon (2), David Moss (2) 3 - 1 PHX
09:15SJS Patrick Marleau (5) ASST: Joe Thornton (7), Matt Irwin (1) 3 - 2 PHX
13:06SJS Martin Havlat (2) ASST: Ryane Clowe (1), Logan Couture (4) 3 - 3 Tie
18:07SJS Patrick Marleau (6) ASST: Joe Pavelski (6), Joe Thornton (8) 4 - 3 SJS
19:57SJS PPG - EN - Joe Thornton (1) ASST: Joe Pavelski (7), Patrick Marleau (2) 5 - 3 SJS
Three Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Patrick Marleau
G: 2Shots: 5
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 18:10
Joe Thornton
Joe Thornton
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 3Hits: 0
PTS: 4PIM: 2
+/-: 2TOI: 18:04
Logan Couture
Logan Couture
G: 1Shots: 6
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 17:15
Penalty Summary
1st Period
04:42PHX Michael Stone  Holding against  Martin Havlat
05:21PHX Oliver Ekman-Larsson  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
16:34SJS James Sheppard  Interference against  Boyd Gordon
19:17PHX Derek Morris  Cross checking against  Justin Braun
2nd Period
04:16SJS TJ Galiardi  Hi stick - double minor against  Lauri Korpikoski
05:22SJS Andrew Desjardins  Hi-sticking against  Derek Morris
11:54PHX Zbynek Michalek  Slashing against  Joe Thornton
19:58SJS Martin Havlat  Slashing against  Zbynek Michalek
3rd Period
00:51PHX Steve Sullivan  Interference against  TJ Galiardi
00:51PHX Steve Sullivan  Unsportsmanlike conduct
03:09SJS Joe Thornton  Hooking against  Lauri Korpikoski
19:01PHX Keith Yandle  Hooking against  Patrick Marleau
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays2/62/7
Faceoff Wins2636
Blocked Shots1825
Penalty Minutes1412
3K. YandleD0003218:54
4Z. MichalekD0001221:54
6D. SchlemkoD00-11017:01
8M. LombardiC000106:56
12P. BissonnetteL000003:02
15B. GordonC0100016:27
17R. VrbataR0104018:03
18D. MossR0112015:32
19S. DoanR00-36019:35
24K. ChipchuraC0000011:16
26S. SullivanL11-23415:51
28L. KorpikoskiL1004017:26
29M. StoneD00-10212:23
49A. BolducC000004:37
50A. VermetteC10-24020:39
53D. MorrisD01-13223:12
89M. BoedkerL0102020:54
1J. LaBarbera3034.88258:50
3D. MurrayD00-10017:56
7B. StuartD0021018:05
8J. PavelskiC0314018:35
9M. HavlatR1012215:06
10A. DesjardinsL000228:56
12P. MarleauL2125018:10
15J. SheppardC000126:37
19J. ThorntonC1322218:04
21T. GaliardiL00-11413:42
22D. BoyleD0013026:27
26M. HandzusC00-11017:10
29R. CloweL0114017:25
37A. BurishR000008:42
39L. CoutureC1116017:15
44M. VlasicD0020020:00
52M. IrwinD0111017:32
57T. WingelsC0001013:26
61J. BraunD00-11015:15
31A. Niemi3235.91459:56