Coyotes don't play nice in beating Sharks, 3-2

Coyotes don't play nice in beating Sharks, 3-2

SAN JOSE – The Coyotes’ fathers were in attendance on Saturday night at SAP Center to enjoy their sons competing in a game with San Jose. The way the team played, it seems probable that Tie Domi, young forward Max Domi’s father, was responsible for the pregame pep talk.

Employing the brutish, physical style that Tie was known for while recording 3,515 career penalty minutes in 1,020 NHL games, Arizona claimed a 3-2 shootout win over the Sharks. Despite sitting in last place in the Pacific Division by a wide margin, the Coyotes have gained seven of a possible eight points against the Sharks, who remain in first place.

“They always play us tough,” Martin Jones said. “That was a fun game tonight, two teams playing really hard. It was an emotional game…just unfortunate that we couldn’t get the win.”

Whether coincidental or not, the Coyotes seemed to be targeting some of the Sharks’ younger players.

Tomas Hertl was the recipient of a heavy, borderline late hit by Lawson Crouse in the first period, and Brenden Dillon immediately challenged Crouse to a fight. Later in the first, Mike Smith attacked Timo Meier after wrongly thinking that Meier’s stick clipped him under the helmet, sparking a feisty scrum. Early in the second period, Oliver Ekman-Larsson flattened Kevin Labanc well after the whistle seconds after Labanc was caught slashing Luke Schenn, and there was yet another multi-player get-together.

In overtime, Shane Doan took an undisciplined and, frankly, dumb tripping penalty on Hertl, giving the Sharks a four-on-three power play. San Jose didn’t capitalize on it, though, and Arizona went on to claim the extra point in the shootout.

The Sharks’ taking an 0-for-4 on the power play – including a full two minutes and six seconds of time with a two-man advantage late in the first and early in the second after Smith initiated the pushing and shoving with Meier – was their downfall.

“You’ve got to make them pay on the power play, and we didn’t tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “That’s the story; a full two-minute five-on-three, and then a four-on-three. If a team is going to try to take liberties, you’ve got to make them pay on the power play, and we didn’t do that.”

Although the terrible ice conditions late in the first made it difficult to move the puck around on the five-on-three, Joe Pavelski wasn’t using that as an excuse.

“You’ve got to make them count,” he said. “We didn’t have any finish. It’s on us regardless of the ice, regardless of the situation.”

Smith continued his strong play against the Sharks, improving to 12-8-3 with a .944 save percentage when opposing the team in teal. He made 40 saves on Nov. 29, a 2-1 Sharks overtime win, and turned away 38 of 40 on Saturday.

“He’s a big guy. He’s been in the league for a while,” Dillon said. “For some reason he just plays really well against us. He plays the puck really well, which obviously adds another element to it.”

Logan Couture said: “I don't think we did a good enough job getting to the rebounds because there were a lot sitting around his crease tonight. We would have liked to bang a couple in there."

San Jose outshot the Coyotes 19-8 in the third period and overtime, but only managed Couture’s goal on a pretty passing play.

In the shootout, Jones – who made perhaps his best save of the season on Tobias Rieder in the final minute of overtime – allowed both Coyotes shooters to beat him. Prior to that, he had allowed just five shootout attempts to get past him on 36 breakaways.

“These guys are pretty good, they’re going to score a couple now and then,” Jones said.

The teams meet once more in just two weeks to close out the season series, and its likely the Coyotes will try and employ the same type of game plan in that one, too – whether Tie is in the building, or simply watching from home.

The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year


The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year

Jannik Hansen's game-winning goal against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday marked the first time he scored in 355 days. 

Hansen last scored on Mar. 30, 2017 against the Edmonton Oilers, his second goal with the Sharks following an in-season trade. His scoring drought, in all, lasted 44 regular season games, 50 if you include the postseason. 

How exactly does a goal-scoring drought last nearly a year? The right (wrong?) circumstances all need to come together, and that was certainly the case for Hansen for much of the last year.

For one, the Danish forward was in and out of the lineup. San Jose played 83 regular season and postseason games between Hansen's second and third goals, and he did not play in 33 of those games. Plenty of players have had rough 50-game stretches, and that's often without not playing for weeks at a time, as Hansen has done a couple of times this season. 

When Hansen did draw into the lineup this year, however, he wasn't generating offense at the same rate he had in the past. This season, Hansen's five-on-five shot rate (6.19 shots per 60 minutes), shot attempt rate (10.53 individual corsi per 60), and unblocked shot attempt rate (8.95 individual fenwick per 60) were all down from his career averages, according to Corsica Hockey. 

That decline is natural, considering Hansen turned 32 just six days ago. Those rates were not down enough, however, to expect him to fail to score in his first 39 appearances this season. Naturally, a long run of bad luck played a big role in Hansen's dry spell.

Hansen went 0-for-66 in shots over the 50 consecutive regular season and playoff games in which he did not score. He's a career 11-percent shooter, and had he shot at his career average, he would have scored seven goals during that time. That feels about right for a bottom-six forward. 

In many ways, all of these factors fed into one another. Hansen wasn't generating shots or scoring, then was scratched, then couldn't find the back of the net when he returned and was scratched again. All the while, fellow fourth-liners Marcus Sorensen (26.7 percent shooting percentage this season), Joel Ward (14.3 percent) and Barclay Goodrow (13.2 percent) were converting on their chances, forcing Peter DeBoer's hand. 

His possession play has been solid all season (50.74 percent corsi-for, per Natural Stat Trick), but the offense hasn't followed. When it does, as was the case Tuesday night, he can be an effective fourth-line forward, and the goal on Tuesday bought him more time to prove it. 

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win


SAN JOSE -- Jannik Hansen scored his first goal of the season and fellow fourth-liners Eric Fehr and Barclay Goodrow also scored to help the San Jose Sharks win their season-high fifth straight game, 6-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Logan Couture added his 30th goal of the season, and Joe Pavelski and Mikkel Boedker also scored to give the Sharks a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.

Brent Burns added three assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves.

The scoring barrage by San Jose spoiled Cory Schneider's return to net for the Devils. Schneider allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period of his first start since March 8. Schneider has lost 11 starts in a row since his last win for the Devils on Dec. 27.

Taylor Hall scored his 32nd goal of the season and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who lead Florida by just one point in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers have two games in hand.

After Hansen and Fehr scored in the first period, Goodrow chipped one in midway through the second period on a surprising night of scoring from the fourth line when he beat Schneider on a 2-on-1.

Couture then scored 40 seconds later on San Jose's first shot against Keith Kinkaid for his third career 30-goal season. Boedker added San Jose's second power-play goal of the night late in the second and the rout was on.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in their first game back from a 3-0 Canadian road trip, scoring three goals in the first period and killing 1:20 of a two-man advantage for New Jersey.

The teams traded goals to start with Fehr beating Schneider over the shoulder from a bad angle and Hall answering when he stole a bouncing puck from Justin Braunand beat Jones with a quick shot.

San Jose then scored twice in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead. Pavelski tipped in a shot from Kevin Labanc on the power play to give the Sharks the lead.

Then after Jones denied Damon Severson from in close at one end, Dylan DeMelo sent a long pass that Hansen chased down and then beat Schneider on a breakaway for his first goal since March 30, 2017.

NOTES: DeMelo has 10 assists this month. ... San Jose D Brenden Dillon has a five-game point streak. ... Devils F Miles Wood (upper body) was scratched and Jesper Bratt played in his place.


Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.

Sharks: Host Vegas on Thursday.