The San Jose Sharks arrived in Arizona with some renewed hope that they get back into the playoff picture after two wins at home earlier in the week.
Saturday night, when the Sharks departed the Valley of the Sun, they found themselves pretty much in the same spot they were a week ago.
The Sharks allowed two goals on five shots in the second period and could not beat goalie Adin Hill at the other end in a 4-0 loss to the Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk finished with 23 saves as the Sharks were swept in a two-game series for the third time in four tries. Their next games are Monday and Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild.
Phil Kessel had a hat trick and Clayton Keller also scored for the Coyotes, who won Friday’s game with San Jose 5-2. The Sharks are now 2-5-1 in their last eight games, as they are now seven points back of both Arizona and St. Louis for the fourth and final playoff spot.
The Sharks have now scored two or fewer goals in five of their last six games.
The Sharks took five penalties in the third period and nine for the game. The biggest one was a five-minute major at the 7:02 mark to Kurtis Gabriel, who crushed an unsuspecting Johan Larsson with a hit from the side well away from the puck. Gabriel was also given a game misconduct.
The Sharks were nine points back of a playoff spot a week ago. But catching either the Blues or the Coyotes seems like a pipe dream considering what happened in Arizona.
The Coyotes opened the scoring at the 5:49 mark of the second period.
Timo Meier carried the puck into the Arizona end and tried to find Dylan Gambrell with a pass to the middle of the ice. Instead, the puck skipped past Gambrell and a pinching Marc-Edouard Vlasic to set up a 2-on-1 for the Coyotes. Keller came down with Kessel, and fired a wrist shot between Dubnyk’s pads for the game’s first goal.
Kessel would score later in the second period for a 2-0 Coyotes lead. With Rudolfs Balcers in the box for holding, Kessel fired a shot past Dubnyk for his 12th of the season.
The Sharks had just 22 shots on goal in Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Coyotes, a total they almost equaled through 20 minutes in Saturday’s game as they kept testing Arizona goalie Adin Hill
Sharks coach Bob Boughner was displeased with his team’s work ethic in Friday’s game, sparing almost no one in his postgame evaluation after San Jose swept a two-game series with Los Angeles earlier this week.
“We just didn’t have it as a team tonight,” Boughner said. “There wasn’t one line that I could say was good or set of (defensemen). I think we made too many mistakes, too many mental errors. It looked like maybe there was some fatigue in our game, our legs weren’t great. We’ve got to find a way to regroup here (Saturday).”
Dubnyk was making his first start in a week after Martin Jones had seized the net for the last three games, going 2-1-0. Dubnyk’s last win came March 12, a 34-save shutout against the Anaheim Ducks. In his next three games, Dubnyk was 0-3-0 with a .882 save percentage.
SECOND TO ONE: Patrick Marleau dressed in his 1,756th career NHL game Saturday night, tying him with Mark Messier for the second-most games played in league history.
Barring anything unforeseen, Marleau will pass Messier on Monday when the Sharks host the Minnesota Wild. Marleau will then be just 10 games behind Gordie Howe, who holds the league record with 1,767 games played over a 26-season NHL career.
In his own 25-year NHL career, Messier, 60, won the Stanley Cup six times, was a two-time Hart Trophy winner as the league’s MVP, and is third all-time in league history with 1,887 points. Messier was an NHL all-star five times, and has a league award for leadership is named in his honor. He is the only player in league history to be captain of two teams that won the Stanley Cup (Edmonton Oilers, 1990; New York Rangers, 1994).
Messier began his NHL career in 1979 and retired in 2005, and likely would have passed Howe on the all-time games played list had there not been NHL work stoppages in 1994 and the duration of the 2004-05 season.
LINEUP CHANGES: The Sharks scratched Marcus Sorensen for Saturday’s game in favor of Kurtis Gabriel, who had been scratched for the previous two games after he was fined by the NHL on Tuesday for a pregame altercation the day before against the Los Angeles Kings.
Dan Carter was a reporter for nomad Labs, before becoming the lead editor. Dan has over forty bylines and has reported on countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Dan studied at CSUF.