Highlights: Sharks go to third consecutive shootout vs. Coyotes
Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture converted in the shootout to give the Sharks a 4-3 win over Phoenix. (AP IMAGES)
PHOENIX – Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns had a goal and an assist, and Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture converted in the shootout, as the Sharks beat Phoenix on Friday night at Jobing.com Arena, 4-3.
The Sharks picked up their third straight win, all in the shootout.
San Jose improved to 11-7-3 on the road, after losing five of the last six away from home. The Sharks are 5-2-0 in their last seven.
The Sharks took their first lead of the game midway through the third period. Burns got free in front of the net, and went top shelf over Mike Smith on a pass from Pavelski behind the net at 10:10 of the final frame to make it 3-2. Pavelski, who scored earlier, managed to get the puck to Burns by sliding it through the feet of the Coyotes’ Derek Morris.
Phoenix responded on the power play after Tommy Wingels’ interference minor. Radim Vrbata was left alone at the top of the circle, picked his spot, and let fly a wrister that beat Antti Niemi with 6:25 to go.
Burns nearly ended it in overtime. He intercepted a pass from Connor Murphy in the Sharks’ offensive zone, but Smith got his glove on Burns’ breakaway try with two and a half minutes to go.
In the shootout, Niemi allowed a goal to Mikkel Boedkker on the Coyotes' first attempt, but stopped Vrbata and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
The Coyotes opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period. Matt Nieto’s pass to Tyler Kennedy ended up loose between the circles, and David Moss’ shot appeared to deflect off of Brad Stuart before making its way past Niemi at 7:43.
The Sharks responded in the second on Pavelski’s seventh goal in the last eight games. Now playing on the Joe Thornton line, Pavelski’s wrist shot found daylight above Smith’s left shoulder midway through regulation.
It took just 68 seconds for the Coyotes to regain the lead, when Moss redirected a David Schlemko saucer at 11:04, after the Phoenix defenseman sidestepped Kennedy high in the offensive zone.
A rare road power play goal for the Sharks tied it again before the intermission. On a rush, Wingels’ centered the puck to Marleau, and Marleau’s shot went through Smith’s five-hole at 13:13. Marleau leads the team with 17 goals.
Thornton, who entered as the NHL assist leader, added two more to his total. He has 10 helpers in his last seven games, and 37 for the season.
Due to the new CBA-mandated three days off for Christmas, the Sharks were forced to fly to Phoenix early on Friday morning, rather than the standard night before the game.
The game, a sellout, marked the 10-year anniversary of the first-ever NHL game at Jobing.com Arena.
The two teams meet once more, in Arizona, in the Sharks’ regular season finale on April 12. Phoenix concludes its season the next night.
Marleau’s goal ended a streak of 28 consecutive unsuccessful five-on-four power plays on the road. The Sharks scored a power play goal in Toronto on Dec. 3 on a two-man advantage.
San Jose was 1-for-3 on the power play, and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
NIemi made 34 saves, while Smith turned away 28. The two have opposed one another in all three games of the season series.
Niemi improved to 5-5 in shootouts this season. The Sharks are 6-5 overall.
The Sharks split up two of their defense pairs in the first period. Jason Demers and Marc-Edouard Vlasic skated together, while Justin Braun was with Stuart.
Marty Havlat missed his second straight game with a lower body injury. Havlat did not play on Monday, either, despite taking pregame warmups.
Phoenix played its ninth straight game without captain Shane Doan, who is battling a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The Sharks host the Ducks on Sunday, and close out the year in Anaheim on New Year’s Eve. The Edmonton Oilers visit on Jan. 2 before a three-game road trip begins in Colorado two days later.