SAN JOSE – Radim Vrbata’s shootout goal was the deciding score in a 3-2 Coyotes win over the Sharks in a nasty meeting between division foes in San Jose on Saturday night.
Arizona, buried in last place in the Pacific, improved to 3-0-1 against the Sharks this season.
The Sharks lost for just the second time in their last 10 games (8-1-1).
In overtime, the Sharks were awarded a power play after a foolish penalty by Shane Doan. They did not convert, despite some good looks.
Martin Jones preserved the 2-2 game with 34 seconds to go, making perhaps his best save of the year on Tobias Rieder, sliding across the crease and gloving Rieder’s attempt on a two-on-one.
Vrbata and Brendan Perlini scored in the skills competition for Arizona, though, while Smith stopped Joe Pavelski to end the game.
The Sharks took their first lead in the third period. Patrick Marleau forced a turnover, and Logan Couture finished off a fine passing play from Mikkel Boedker and Marleau at 2:18 to put San Jose ahead, 2-1.
Arizona tied it up quickly, when Ryan White’s low wrist shot was inadvertently deflected in by Brenden Dillon’s stick blade at 2:44.
There was an undercurrent of antipathy from the late first period through the final horn. It began when Lawson Crouse ran over Tomas Hertl in the corner, and Dillon immediately challenged him for a long, drawn out fight at 14:09 of the opening frame.
A couple minutes later, Smith took contact in the crease after covering up a loose puck. Although it appeared he was hit by his teammate, Smith went after Timo Meier behind the net, while Luke Schenn grabbed Kevin Labanc in the final seconds of a Sharks power play.
The result was a two-man advantage for the Sharks for a full two minutes and six seconds. They failed to convert – due in part to some horrendous ice conditions at the end of the first period – and the game remained scoreless into the second.
Less than three minutes into the middle frame, Labanc was called for slashing Luke Schenn, and was the recipient of a post-whistle check from Oliver Ekman-Larsson, sending him to the ice. Micheal Haley made a beeline for the Arizona defenseman, but it was quickly broken up at 2:34.
Doan put Arizona ahead 1-0 with a power play goal at 12:23, sneaking a wrist shot between Jones’ legs while Couture and Max Domi exchanged some shoves and cross-checks in the neutral zone.
The Sharks tied it before the intermission. Brenden Dillon found himself alone in front of the net, and after Smith stopped his first attempt, the defenseman jammed the loose puck over the line at 17:15 for his first of the season.
Smith made some remarkable saves before that. He recovered just in time to stop Mikkel Boedker early in the first period after losing track of a Justin Braun rebound, denied Hertl on a partial breakaway with 14 minutes to go in the second, and got his stick on a Meier rebound try a few minutes later.
The Sharks and Coyotes conclude their season series on Feb. 18 in Arizona.
The Sharks finished 0-for-4 on the power play, including that lengthy two-man advantage in which they managed just a single shot on goal. Their best chance on that particular power play came early in the second, when a Brent Burns one-timer dinged the outside of the post.
Arizona was 1-for-4 on the power play. It was Doan’s second power play goal this season, and just his fifth overall.
Jones made his fourth straight start, and 45th start in 53 games. He took the loss, with 26 saves.
Smith stopped 38 Sharks shots, and two of three in the shootout to record the win.
Haley played for the first time since Jan. 18, missing seven games in part to a lower body injury. Ryan Carpenter was a healthy scratch.
Meier was bumped up to the third line, while Labanc skated on the fourth.
Marleau received a rousing ovation in the first period, when he was recognized on the jumbotron for scoring his 500th career goal on Thursday in Vancouver. A more formal pregame ceremony is set for Feb. 15 in the Sharks’ next home game.
The Sharks commence their final east coast road trip on Tuesday, beginning in Buffalo. They also visit Boston, Philadelphia and New Jersey, playing four games in six days.