GLENDALE, Ariz. ---Joe Thornton scored his first hat trick of the season and the San Jose Sharks (45-21-10) battled back from a three goal deficit in the third period, but an overtime goal by Phoenix's Keith Ballard sealed the 5-4 (OT) win for the Coyotes (37-24-6) at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday night.
San Jose Sharks center Curtis Brown, left, is pinned to the ice by Phoenix Coyotes center Steven Reinprecht, right, as they battle over a loose puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 25, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
Missing from the Sharks line up was right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, who was still sore from the cross-check to the head he received from Anaheim’s Chris Kunitz in Friday’s game. In his place, Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson put Jeremy Roenick on the top line with Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek.
Along with the Sharks, cames their League leading road record (26-8-3) and their nine-game road winning streak. San Jose, which has clinched its fourth straight playoff berth and ninth in 10 seasons, had the second-best record in the league.
Phoenix, meanwhile, was among the NHL's weakest teams at home, going 16-19-4 at Jobing.com Arena this season.
This was the seventh meeting between the Sharks and the Coyotes this season with San Jose maintaining a 4-1-1 record with Phoenix. The Sharks outscored Phoenix 16-1 in their first four wins, but on Dec. 20, the Coyotes stole their first victory, a 3-2 shootout win at HP Pavilion. The most recent meeting came on Jan. 15 when the Coyotes defeated the Sharks, 5-3, at Jobing.com Arena.
The opening fifteen minutes were quiet, with no penalties or serious scoring opportunities until Kyle McLaren was called for roughing at 15:41. The Sharks were able to kill that penalty, but earned another one when Brian Campbell was called for slashing at 18:17. Before the Coyotes could take advantage of their power play, Derek Morris was called for tripping at 19:27.
During the first stanza, Ed Jovanovski went for a puck along the boards and was clipped by Devin Setoguchi's skate. Jovanovski received seven stitches for a calf lasceration and did not return to the game.
The period ended without any scoring and the Sharks would have to wait until the second period to take their shot with the man advantage. Phoenix drew first blood when they scored an even-strength goal at 8:25 to take a 1-0 lead. After the Coyotes broke up a scoring play in their defensive end, Shane Doan sent a clearing pass to Daniel Winnik. The center broke away on a two-on-one with Derek Morris and after patiently holding the puck and waiting for lone Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray to commit to him, Winnik passed the puck off to Morris who one-timed it past the outstretched glove of Nabokov.
With just under five minutes to go in the period, Douglas Murray laid an open ice hit on Craig Weller. The play continued and Daniel Carcillo ended up on a break away against Nabokov. The Coyotes left wing faked Nabokov, but forgot the puck and the Sharks netminder poke-checked his attempt away.
Behind the play, Murray and Weller dropped the gloves and spent more time pulling on eachother's shirts than throwing punches. The two were pulled apart and given matching fighting majors at 15:08.
The Coyotes added to their lead with 1:11 remaining in the second when Enver Lisin scored his third goal of the season. Strong forechecking by the Coyotes lead to a turnover along the boards and when Lisin obtained possesion of the puck, he went straight for the goal and forced his shot up over the shoulder of Nabokov.
The period ended with the Sharks down, 2-0.
San Jose earned a power play at 1:11 when Peter Mueller was called for hooking. After nearly scoring a short-handed goal just seconds earlier, Doan converted at 2:16 for his 27th goal of the season. Pheonix was now leading 3-0.
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, center, is congratulated by teammates Milan Michalek, left, of the Czech Republic, and Jeremy Roenick, right, after Thornton scored his third goal against the Phoenix Coyotes in the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 25, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes won 5-4 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
The Sharks fired back and scored back-to-back goals on the power play to cut Pheonix's lead to one. On their first power play attempt, Roenick sent a cross ice pass through the crease to the open stick of Thornton. The Sharks center tapped it in for his 22nd goal of the season at 2:51. Seconds later, Marc-Edouard Vlasic added another power-play goal at 3:18.
A bad clearing attempt by Nabokov led to Phoenix's next goal scored by Steven Reinprecht at 4:05 and Sharks Coach Ron Wilson used the opportunity to pull his starting goaltender and put in Brian Boucher.
Less than a minute later, Thornton converted for his second goal of the night and 23nd of the season to pull the Sharks back within one. After five goals had been scored in 2:38, the Coyotes led the Sharks 4-3.
Joe Thornton scored his first hat trick of the season when he tied the game with 2:48 remaining. Thornton tipped a Christian Ehrhoff shot past Ilja Bryzgalov to knot the game 4-4.
After sixty minutes of regulation, the Sharks and Coyotes were headed to overtime.
Martin Hanzal ended up being the hero for Phoenix when Keith Ballard dropped a pass to Hanzal on a fast break. The Coyotes defenseman corralled the puck and beat Boucher top corner to win the game, 5-4 (OT) for Phoenix.
Nabokov - Boucher
MARCH-ING TO THE TURNSTILES
Fueled by unprecedented League-wide competition for playoff spots and positions, the NHL is on pace to obliterate its March attendance records. A per-game average of 17,900 fans -- 97% of capacity -- has filled NHL arenas this month. The existing March record average of 17,331 was set last season.
The late-season surge has ensured another season of record NHL attendance. The 2007-08 per-game average of 17,194 is running 1.7% ahead of the 2006-07 campaign, which concluded with a record figure of 16,961. The NHL will surpass 20 million in total attendance for the seventh consecutive season and will, for the first time in its 90-season history, conclude the regular season with a per-game average in excess of 17,000.
The Sharks return to San Jose to take on the Dallas Stars on Thursday, March 27 at 7:30 PM (Pacific). The game will be broadcast on FSN, 98.5 KFOX FM, Sharks Radio Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com. From the AP Wire
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -Martin Hanzal scored on a wrist shot with 1:37 left in overtime to give the Phoenix Coyotes a 5-4 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
Joe Thornton had a hat trick added an assist for his second four-point game of the season for the Sharks. The other came against Montreal on March 4.
Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, right, of Russia, pounces on a rebound before San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray, left, of Sweden, can get a stick on it in the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 25, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes won 5-4 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
The Phoenix win cooled off the Sharks, who lost for only the second time in their past 16 games. The loss to Phoenix was the first time San Jose lost in regulation since a 3-2 defeat at New Jersey Feb. 20.
The Coyotes ended a five-game losing skid and won for the 17th time in 40 home games.
After a tight-checking opening two periods, the teams combined for five goals in the opening 4:54 of the third period.
In that span, Phoenix captain Shane Doan picked up a short-handed goal, while the Thornton and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored a power-play goal within 28 seconds for San Jose.
Phoenix opened the scoring when defenseman Derek Morris took a pass from Daniel Winnik and picked up his eighth goal of the season at 8:25 of the second period.
San Jose Sharks goalie Brian Boucher, right, pokes the puck off the stick of Phoenix Coyotes left winger Marcel Hossa, of the Czech Republic, in the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 25, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes won 5-4 in overtime.(AP Photo/Paul Connors)
Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov kept it 1-0 as he stopped Daniel Carcillo on a breakaway with 5 minutes left in the second period.
The Coyotes increased their lead to 2-0 as Enver Lisen picked up his third goal of the season. He dug the puck out of the right corner, skated toward the crease and flipped the puck under the cross bar to beat Nabokov.
After Steve Reinprecht scored to put Phoenix up 4-2 in the second period, Sharks coach Ron Wilson pulled Nabokov for Brian Boucher.
Notes: Sharks' Jonathan Cheechoo was scratched due to soreness in his neck. He collided with the Ducks' Chris Kunitz on Friday and is listed day to day. ... Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski suffered a lacerated calf (seven stitches) in the first period and did not return. ... Winnik's two-point game was his second multipoint effort of the season.
1 - 0 PHX
2 - 0 PHX
3 - 0 PHX
3 - 1 PHX
3 - 2 PHX
4 - 2 PHX
4 - 3 PHX
4 - 4 Tie
5 - 4 PHX