Sharks take bite out of lowly Coyotes
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The San Jose Sharks are very good on the road. Arizona is very poor at home.
It was a bad combination for the Coyotes, especially on yet another night their top goaltender left with an injury.
Joe Thornton scored five seconds after a first-period goaltender change, Martin Jones stopped 26 shots and the San Jose Sharks halted their three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Coyotes.
The Coyotes’ three-game winning streak came to an end.
Logan Couture scored his team-high 11th goal for San Jose in the second period as the Sharks again prevented the Coyotes from winning a Western Conference game.
Arizona is 0-8-2 in conference play and 1-7-1 at Gila River Arena. San Jose is 5-2 away from home.
“Those are the type of games you have to win,” Jones said after improving to 9-3-1 in his last 13 games. “I thought we defended well. They came out with a lot of jump in the first period, we stuck with good structure and were tough to play against and I think we wore them down the rest of the night.”
The game took on a different look after Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta, who played only one full game in Arizona’s first 13 because of two lower-body injuries, was lifted with an unspecified upper-body injury 14:37 into the first period. It was the third time that Raanta needed to come out of a game because of injury this season.
Five seconds after Scott Wedgewood replaced Raanta, Thornton scored off a rebound of Brent Burns’ long slap shot, Thornton set up the goal himself with an offensive zone faceoff win.
“It’s tough, but it’s a game of injuries and it’s next man up,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “It was blown coverage, two guys followed the puck instead of their man. We didn’t do the job on our coverage.”
Wedgewood agreed it was difficult coming in such a situation, saying, “That’s the tough part, then obviously getting in there and it’s shot, tip, goal. It was tough.”
Several minutes before Thornton scored his third of the season, San Jose killed off two Arizona power plays, including a five-on-three that lasted 39 seconds.
The Coyotes were 0 of 3 on the power play after scoring five times with the man advantage during their brief winning streak.
“We had the power plays, and we’d like to capitalize on those,” Tocchet said. “Five-on-three, I think we’re 0-for-5. Someone has to make some plays. We have to score there.”
Couture made it 2-0 by scoring 4:46 into the second period. He skated undefended to the left-wing circle to collect Joonas Donskoi’s backdoor pass and put a backhander past Wedgewood, a former New Jersey Devils goalie making his first appearance in an Arizona home game.
“He made a great look on my goal and he’s fun to play with,” Couture said of Donskoi, who was coming off a two-goal game against Anaheim.
Wedgewood made 14 saves in his fifth appearance of the season; Raanta stopped all nine shots he faced before leaving.
Center Derek Stepan thought the Coyotes didn’t do a good job of “chasing the game” especially after falling behind.
“That’s what happens when you’re playing teams like that, and you’re chasing it, they’re able to sit back and wait for their chances,” Stepan said.
Jones, 6-2-2 in his career against Phoenix, was working on his second shutout of the season when a San Jose turnover led to Brendan Perlini redirecting Stepan’s wrist shot for his sixth goal of the season, at 12:23 of the third period.
“The first 10 minutes they were kind of buzzing around our zone a little bit, after that really didn’t have much and we had guys back all the time,” Jones said. “We were pretty stingy through the neutral zone.”
Joel Ward finished it off with an empty-net goal — his fourth goal of the season — with 47.8 seconds remaining.
Arizona, which lost its first 11 games this season, was coming off three consecutive wins in Canada against Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.
The Coyotes were denied their first four-game winning streak in nearly two years, since Jan. 4-12, 2016.
“I think we had more Grade A chances (than they did),” Tocchet said. “We had some guys who didn’t have juice. We have three or four guys we count on that didn’t have any juice, I could tell.”
Once Raanta was hurt, Nathan Schoenfeld — the son of former NHL coach Jim Schoenfeld — put on a uniform to serve as the emergency goaltender, even though his last competitive game was for Arizona State in 2006. Schoenfeld was designated as the emergency goaltender by both the Coyotes and Sharks.
NOTES: Of Arizona’s 58 goals this season, 33 were scored by players 22 or younger. ... Sharks D Paul Martin, who has played in only two games, sustained a setback in his recovery from an ankle injury and remains out indefinitely. ... Sharks C Melker Karlsson (upper-body injury) sat out a second successive game. ... Both teams played the first of three games in four days, with Arizona playing all three at home. ... Coyotes D Alex Goligoski played in his 185th consecutive game. ... Coyotes C Derek Stepan has at least one point in five of his last six games.