Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Coyotes play spolier against Sharks

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coming off a dramatic victory in their home finale, the San Jose Sharks had a chance to move closer to earning home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

They let the opportunity slip through their fingers thanks to a shaky first period and some stingy goaltending by Phoenix’s Mike Smith.

Smith stopped 33 shots, and the Coyotes prevented San Jose from moving up in the Western Conference standings with a 2-1 win over the Sharks on Wednesday night.

“Last night was an emotional game, and you’re always concerned about guys getting off to a good start,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of San Jose’s win over Dallas on Tuesday. “It took a little while for us to get our legs going and decide to play the way we needed to play. Just not enough (Wednesday).”

San Jose scored two goals 30 seconds apart in the third period to beat Dallas 3-2 on Tuesday and clinch its ninth straight playoff appearance. The Sharks had a chance to move ahead of Los Angeles for fourth in the West after the Kings lost to Minnesota.

Whether it was fatigue from playing back-to-back nights or a lapse in focus, the Sharks stumbled out of the gate against the Coyotes, allowing two goals in the first period.

San Jose was better after that, creating some good chances and pulling within 2-1 on Brent Burns’ goal in the second period, but couldn’t get anything else past Smith. The Sharks remained tied with the Kings at 57 points.

Thomas Greiss stopped 30 shots in his first start since March 6 for the Sharks, who will close the season against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings in Los Angeles on Saturday.

“Mike Smith is just a great goalie and you saw it again (Wednesday),” said Sharks captain Joe Thornton. “A couple plays where we thought it was going to go in and it just didn’t.”

Despite being eliminated from the postseason the night before, the Coyotes played like the team fighting for a playoff spot.

Phoenix had the extra jump early, getting goals from Michael Stone and Keith Yandle in the first period. Even when San Jose fought back, the Coyotes didn’t buckle, playing the tight-checking style that had been so successful the previous three seasons.

Smith was back in form after allowing three goals to Detroit on Monday. Captain Shane Doan had a pair of assists for Phoenix, which has two games left.

“I thought we would play well,” said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “I know everybody’s disappointed and that room is as disappointed as everybody else, but I know the leadership that Shane Doan has and he’s not going to let this team back off.

“I wasn’t worried about our commitment to playing hard (Wednesday) or whether we were going to go through the motions.”

It was a strange position for the Coyotes, who faded down the stretch this season after making late-season pushes to reach the playoffs in previous years.

Phoenix stumbled with a franchise-record goal-less streak of 245 minutes, 32 seconds — 133 straight shots without a goal — in mid-March to fall out of the top 10 in the Western Conference and never fully recovered.

The Coyotes’ slim playoff chances took a huge hit on Monday, when they were shut out for the eighth time this season in a lackluster 4-0 loss at Detroit.

They officially had a run of playoff appearances end at three straight seasons with Minnesota’s win over the Kings.

The Coyotes looked like a playoff team in the first period, generating some good chances and a pair of goals.

Stone scored midway through the period when he was left open as all the other players from both teams crammed near the left boards. Taking a pass from Radim Vrbata, Stone sent a slap shot from the right circle under Greiss’ stick arm for his fifth of the season.

Yandle made it 2-0 with his 10th of the season from nearly the same spot, one-timing a pass from Oliver Ekman-Larsson on a shot that skipped past Greiss after appearing to hit a Sharks player in front.

“It could have just been from playing last night and traveling, but they got off to a good start,” Thornton said. “After the first 20 (minutes) we played solid, but we pretty much gave them the game the first 20 minutes.”

Burns cut Phoenix’s lead to 2-1 early in the second period, whipping a shot past Smith after a turnover by Ekman-Larsson in the Coyotes’ end. It was San Jose’s first goal against Smith in more than 200 minutes

The Sharks ramped up the pressure in the third period, but Smith turned away 13 shots, including a couple of tough chances in the closing seconds to seal Phoenix’s only-for-pride victory.

“It showed what kind of character we have in here,” Smith said. “It wasn’t the easiest of games to get up for, we don’t like to be in the situation we’re in, but there’s two ways to look at it: go out there and feel sorry for yourself and just get through a game or you could show some pride and play like we did tonight.

“It was a nice way to get a win.”

NOTES: The Coyotes were without D Derek Morris (lower body) and C Rob Klinkhammer (upper body). … Greiss got the start after Antti Niemi started the previous 24 games. … A group of Ekman-Larsson fans painted their faces like the Swedish flag and wore jerseys that were half Coyotes, half Swedish national team. Ekman-Larsson is from Karlskrona, Sweden. … Phoenix will play its final home game on Friday against Colorado before finishing the season at Anaheim on Saturday.

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    4-H members get ready for Spring Show

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Will city move forward on public power review?

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
     
    2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
     
    Youth sports in focus on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Rummage sale will benefit preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Concert benefits South Korea exchange

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Conference puts focus on Arab studies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Water rate assistance bill advances

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Program explores STEM careers for girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

    Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    MOMS Club plans open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

    Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Things are turning sour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    The high cost of employment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    High-five to Union Bank

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Broken sprinklers waste water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Three more administrators?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Neustadt has experience for the job

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

     
    Davis is fair, thoughtful

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 2 Comments | Gallery

    Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
     
    Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

    Congressional art competition open to high school students

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6