Highlights: Coyotes 3, Sharks 2 (SO)
SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist, but the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Sharks in a shootout on Saturday at SAP Center, 3-2.
The Sharks fell to 10-1-3 and saw their 11-game home winning streak snapped, including the first five this season. Antoine Vermette scored the game-deciding goal in the skills competition in the fifth round.
The Coyotes (10-3-2) won their sixth of seven games, and are now just one point behind San Jose and Anaheim for the Pacific Division lead.
The Sharks scored a pair of second period goals to take a 2-1 lead. First, Joe Pavelski slung a wrist shot past Mike Smith just one minute and 16 seconds into the second period to tie the game. Pavelski was skating in on a two-on-one with Matt Nieto, who earned the primary assist.
A power play goal by Dan Boyle, after a long shift by the Sharks’ top unit, gave San Jose its first lead. Boyle’s wrist shot from the faceoff dot found room over Smith’s far shoulder for Boyle’s second goal of the season.
The defenseman, who was playing in his first game since getting stretchered off of the ice on Oct. 15 in St. Louis, enthusiastically punched the glass in celebration amidst a raucous cheer from the appreciative home crowd.
The lead didn’t last. Phoenix’s Mikkel Boedker sped towards the goal and got position on Marc-Edouard Vlasic before depositing a sharp-angle shot past Antti Niemi at 8:57 of the second on what was the Coyotes’ first shot of the middle frame and should have been a routine stop for Niemi.
Phoenix opened the scoring early, when a shot by Vermette beat Niemi to the glove side just 36 seconds after the faceoff. Vermette and Joe Thornton exchanged slashes in the center ice faceoff circle just prior to the goal.
The Sharks, who had a season low in shots with just 20 in Los Angeles, outshot Phoenix 50-30. San Jose reached the 50-shot plateau for the third time, including both games against the Coyotes. Phoenix outshot San Jose in the overtime session, 7-0, though.
The Sharks rearranged their top two scoring lines before the game, putting Marty Havlat with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau, and shifting Tyler Kennedy to the Thornton-Tomas Hertl line.
Hertl nearly gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead on a breakaway just before Boedker’s goal, but Keith Yandle caught up with the rookie just before he could get a shot off.
The Sharks and Coyotes play twice more, both at Jobing.com Arena, on Dec. 27 and the final game of the regular season on April 12.
Thornton recorded his 800th career assist on Boyle’s goal.
The Sharks finished 1-for-6 on the power play, and killed off all four Coyotes attempts.
The Sharks looked dangerous on a four-minute advantage in the first period with Radim Vrbata off on a double-minor for high-sticking. Smith made several outstanding saves, though, denying Thornton alone in front and later Couture and Havlat.
The second power play unit consisted of Hertl, Havlat, Wingels, Justin Braun and Jason Demers.
Niemi got better as the game went on, after he allowed two stoppable shots to get past him. He finished with 28 saves and is now 9-1-3.
Smith, who took the loss here on Oct. 5, made 48 saves and improved to 8-2-2.
Matt Irwin was a healthy scratch for the first time this season to make room for Boyle, who skated with Brad Stuart. Mike Brown also did not play.
Nieto returned from a three-game absence with a hand injury.
Phoenix welcomed Martin Hanzal back into the lineup after the big centerman served a two-game suspension for hitting Edmonton’s Jeff Petry.
The Sharks continue a three-game homestand with the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday and Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Another five-game road trip begins on Nov. 10 in Winnipeg.