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Phoenix
Coyotes
38-39-5
San Jose
Sharks
44-27-11

26 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
PHX
SJS
game recap

Coyotes 5, Sharks 4

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:50 AM

Associated Press

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Coyotes 5, Sharks 4
Phoenix Coyotes 5, San Jose Sharks 4

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - With Wayne Gretzky back behind their bench, the Phoenix Coyotes put on an offensive show that the NHL's career scoring leader could appreciate - and then made a late defensive stand that made their coach very proud.

Derek Morris' goal during a two-man advantage ignited a four-goal rally early in the third period, and captain Shane Doan had two goals in Phoenix's 5-4 victory over San Jose on Wednesday night.

Gretzky was back with the Coyotes after a 10-day leave of absence to be with his mother, Phyllis, who died of lung cancer on Dec. 19 in Brantford, Ontario. The coach didn't say much about his time away, and the Coyotes saw no difference in his demeanor - but his players' gritty effort against the Sharks was everything he desired.

"You never want to say, 'This one's for him,' because nothing compares to that, but it's a good way to go home," Doan said. "We're finding ways to win games again."

After two slow periods, the Coyotes capitalized on three straight San Jose penalties to kick off a flurry of scores.

Morris, Doan, Oleg Saprykin and Mike Johnson scored during that exciting 2:58 stretch early in the third, turning a one-goal deficit into a 5-2 lead in their third victory in four games. The Coyotes chased befuddled Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who was shaky even before allowing four goals on eight shots in the third.

San Jose rallied back on goals by Nils Ekman and rookie Milan Michalek, inciting the sellout crowd and setting up a frantic finish - but despite a late power play, the Sharks couldn't get the puck past Brian Boucher.

"I really think they came at us pretty hard, and they've got a lot of skilled players," Gretzky said. "Our power play scored big goals, and then we played smart in the last 4-5 minutes. It was a great win."

Gretzky returned to his offseason home in the Los Angeles area before Christmas, and rejoined the team Tuesday night, eager to return to the comforting routine of the NHL season.

Jonathan Cheechoo and Grant Stevenson each had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have lost five of six after a six-game winning streak. San Jose opened a four-game homestand but missed a chance to pull within one point of Anaheim and Phoenix for third place in the tough Pacific Division.

"We have to learn to play with a lead and go for the next one," said Sharks captain Patrick Marleau, who had just two points in five games. "We have tons of chances. It shouldn't have to come down to the final 10 minutes. We ran into penalty trouble. It shouldn't take us a couple of quick goals for us to get back into it."

Boucher stopped 30 shots in his third start of the season for the Coyotes, with slumping Curtis Joseph relegated to the bench after being pulled in two of his last three starts.

The Coyotes played an aggressive checking game from the start, but San Jose jumped ahead when Cheechoo scored his ninth goal in eight games, his team-leading 19th overall. With 9.3 seconds left in the first period, Nabokov failed to close his pads on an innocuous shot by Doan, letting it trickle into the net.

The Sharks went back ahead on Stevenson's sixth goal in a stellar rookie season. The Coyotes thought they had tied it again when Sean O'Donnell's slap shot went through Nabokov's pads, but video review showed Doan had kicked it in. Gretzky waved his hand in disgust when officials explained the decision.

The Coyotes' rally began with San Jose's penalties, including a delay-of-game call on Nabokov, leading to over 3 consecutive minutes of two-man advantage for Phoenix.

"The penalties started the problems, and I fell apart," Nabokov said. "We have to get better. We all fell apart out there in key situations. Penalties cost us games in Los Angeles (on Monday night) and here."

Morris tied it with his second goal of the season on a long shot while the Sharks were down 6-on-3 with a delayed penalty, and Doan's deflection goal 61 seconds later put Phoenix ahead.

Saprykin's goal ricocheted back from the end boards, off Nabokov's skate and into the net, while Johnson's goal easily could have been stopped. Vesa Toskala then replaced Nabokov, who went straight to the locker room.

Ekman stopped the skid with a rebound goal, and Michalek pulled San Jose within one goal on a drive to the net with 9:24 to play.

Joe Thornton got his 39th assist on Ekman's goal, tying Philadelphia's Peter Forsberg for the NHL lead. Thornton hasn't scored a goal in six games, however.

Notes: Sharks D Tom Preissing missed his second straight game with the flu. ... San Jose's Ryane Clowe checked Jamie Lundmark over the boards and onto the Coyotes' bench in the third period.

scoring summary
1st Period
02:34
SJS
PPG - Jonathan Cheechoo (19) ASST: NONE
1 - 0 SJS
19:50
PHX
Shane Doan (10) ASST: Ladislav Nagy (26)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
03:13
SJS
PPG - Grant Stevenson (6) ASST: Scott Hannan (7), Milan Michalek (9)
2 - 1 SJS
3rd Period
01:46
PHX
PPG - Derek Morris (2) ASST: Ladislav Nagy (27), Mike Johnson (15)
2 - 2 Tie
02:47
PHX
PPG - Shane Doan (11) ASST: Derek Morris (14), Ladislav Nagy (28)
3 - 2 PHX
03:42
PHX
Oleg Saprykin (6) ASST: Dave Scatchard (10), Denis Gauthier (6)
4 - 2 PHX
04:44
PHX
Mike Johnson (11) ASST: Paul Mara (18), Geoff Sanderson (8)
5 - 2 PHX
06:58
SJS
Nisse Ekman (7) ASST: Joe Thornton (39), Jonathan Cheechoo (11)
5 - 3 PHX
10:36
SJS
Milan Michalek (6) ASST: Grant Stevenson (7), Kyle McLaren (8)
5 - 4 PHX
penalty summary
1st Period
01:48
PHX
Sean O'Donnell  Holding against  Milan Michalek
06:27
SJS
Niko Dimitrakos  Holding against  Jamie Lundmark
15:54
SJS
Scott Hannan  Interference against  Mike Comrie
2nd Period
00:37
PHX
Dave Scatchard  Hi-sticking against  Jonathan Cheechoo
02:41
PHX
Fredrik Sjostrom  Tripping against  Patrick Marleau
03:13
PHX
Ladislav Nagy  Hooking against  Milan Michalek
09:22
SJS
Niko Dimitrakos  Hooking against  Denis Gauthier
17:35
SJS
Jim Fahey  Interference against  Dave Scatchard
19:56
SJS
Jonathan Cheechoo  Interference against  Zbynek Michalek
3rd Period
00:36
SJS
Evgeni Nabokov  Delaying Game-Ill. play goalie
01:46
SJS
Kyle McLaren  Boarding against  Derek Morris
16:54
PHX
Brian Boucher  Delaying Game-Ill. play goalie
goalie stats
Brian Boucher
SA: 34TOI: 59:45
Saves: 30EV: 21 - 23
PIM: 2PP: 7 - 9
SV%: .882SH: 2 - 2
Evgeni Nabokov
SA: 24TOI: 44:44
Saves: 19EV: 12 - 15
PIM: 2PP: 7 - 9
SV%: .792SH: 0 - 0
Vesa Toskala
SA: 2TOI: 14:12
Saves: 2EV: 1 - 1
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: 1.000SH: 1 - 1