With all of its veterans but Joel Ward suited up, San Jose dropped its second consecutive preseason game with a 3-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Joonas Donskoi scored the Sharks’ lone goal, while Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith made 29 saves for the win.
Mikkel Boedker picked up an assist just 3:37 in his first game at Gila river arena as an opponent, assisting on Donskoi’s opening goal.
But Arizona would push back, and started to shift possession away from San Jose. 10:11 after conceding the first goal, former Lightning prospect Anthony DeAngelo scored his second of the preseason and tied the game.
The Sharks would begin to dominate possession in the second period, but could not capitalize. Instead, the Coyotes doubled their lead, as Radim Vrbata scored his first goal since re-joining the Coyotes this offseason with 12:12 left in the second period.
San Jose had a plethora chances to tie the game in the third period, drawing three power play opportunities, including an extended 5-on-3. But the Coyotes defense and goaltender Mike Smith stood tall, making an athletic, stretching kick save as Joe Thornton nearly tied the game with a backdoor tap-in.
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer pulled Jones with just under two minutes to go, but San Jose could not score. Shane Doan corralled a Sharks turnover, and sealed the game with an empty-netter with 10.1 seconds left.
- With Joel Ward out of the lineup, Micheal Haley drew in over Barclay Goodrow, Nikolay Goldobin, and Kevin Labanc, who are also pushing for roster spots. It’s interesting to note, but I’m not sure if it means Haley has the inside edge to the opening night roster. Haley had just played two preseason games before tonight, and DeBoer may have wanted to give him another game. It’s worth mentioning that Haley has a smaller cap hit than each of those players, according to General Fanager, albeit just $1000 smaller than Goodrow’s.
- Haley’s inclusion could mean the Sharks are happy with Matt Nieto and Tommy Wingels’ performance this preseason, and will not move them before opening night. Both players have played well in camp. Wingels has looked solid centering his own line, and was solid at the face-off dot tonight (6/10). With those two playing well, the Sharks could elect to send down all of Goodrow, Goldobin, and Labanc to ensure they get minutes in the AHL.
- A much stronger second game for Mikkel Boedker. He had the best score-adjusted possession numbers of any player, aside from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and the top line of Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, and Tomas Hertl. His line scored tonight, and if he can continue to mesh well with Donskoi and Couture, the Sharks will have a lot more flexibility up front.
- It will be interesting to see what kind of lineup Pete DeBoer plays Sunday night in the preseason finale. I’d expect Mueller, DeMelo, Goodrow, Goldobin, and Labanc to all play, and while he said previously that some of his veterans will play both games on this road trip, they may call up players from the Barracuda as necessary.
- Jake and I will be taping a podcast tomorrow morning. We won’t be able to go live, but if you have any questions for the pod, feel free to post them in the comments or tweet at either of us.