The Arizona Coyotes' Alex Galchenyuk scored three goals last night, enough to beat the Sharks almost single handedly. Galchenyuk scored a pair of goals during regulation and was the only skater to score a goal in the shootout, garnering the Coyotes a 4-3 shootout win over the Sharks. Both teams will now take a few days off to enjoy the holidays.
The story of the game is that the Sharks played half a game against a team that currently sits in seventh place in the Pacific Division and 12 points behind them in the standings. To lose to two basement dwelling teams in back-to-back games is something that will be looming in the Sharks’ minds as they spend time with their families.
While San Jose snagged a point the 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings on Saturday, the team did not play a full 60-minutes there, either. It’s a troubling trend of starting out slow and playing catch up the rest of the game.
As for the Arizona game, Natural Stat Trick’s possession chart for 5-on-5 play really tells the story.
As you can see, Arizona controlled play for the first two periods. The Sharks entered the third period down 2-1 and it was almost like they realized it was time to start playing or they could lose. The team turned it up and you had to wonder where they had been for the first 40 minutes.
The Sharks outshot the Coyotes 14-4 in the third period and had 15 scoring chances to the 3 taken by the Coyotes. In the overtime, it was much the same. San Jose outshot Arizona 8-1 and had 3 scoring chances while the Coyotes had zero. But they didn’t score that extra goal and the Coyotes got a win they deserved much more than the Sharks did.
To the game...
The first period, started out badly for the Sharks. Less than one minute into the game, Brent Burns took an interference penalty and the Coyotes received a power play. While Arizona did not score, it was a move that got the Coyotes into the game early.
For the next 10 minutes or so, Arizona controlled the play with small spurts from the Sharks offense. Things seemed to be looking up for the team when Oliver Ekman-Larsson got called for elbowing and San Jose received a power play of its own.
With the second unit on for the Sharks, Tim Heed (in for Erik Karlsson who was suspended for two games for his hit on Austin Wagner during Saturday’s game against the Kings) teed up a shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. It beat Darcy Kuemper and put the Sharks up 1-0.
Joe Thornton claimed the secondary assist on the play and with it, another spot in history. Jumbo now has 1,041 career assists, enough to claim 10th all-time in career assists. He passes Marcel Dionne on the list.
But as expected, the Sharks could not hold onto the lead for long. Just 20 seconds later, Galchenyuk scored a goal of his own and they were tied at one.
That’s how the period would end.
In the second, the teams got feisty. Arizona took exception to something that happened behind their net and the players came together to “talk” it out. Niklas Hjalmarsson learned if you mess with Brenden Dillon, he’s all too happy to mess with you back. Both were told to take a seat in the box. The Coyotes’ Conor Garland was also asked to sit for the hooking call that started the whole mess.
On the power play, Kevin Labanc took a hooking call (not advisable when you’re on the power play) and things were even at 4-on-4. But 31 seconds later, Joe Pavelski got called for slashing and it was a magical 4-on-3 power play for the Coyotes. Galchenyuk was ready to claim his second goal of the night and the Sharks were stuck playing from behind.
To the third period, where Tomas Hertl showed fans why he has his own bobblehead. He did most of the work himself, receiving a pass at the blueline from Justin Braun and then walking it into the net himself. Hertl tied the game up at two apiece.
But just like earlier, the Coyotes were quick to spoil the tie game. Less than two minutes later, Garland scored his second goal of the season and it was 3-2 Coyotes.
However, Hertl was not done.
He snagged the puck behind the net and then out muscled Ekman-Larsson to get out in front of Keumper. Hertl with the wraparound goal and it was a 3-3 tie.
From there on, the Sharks pushed for that game winning goal, but could not get it past Kuemper. The team controlled the play and won the battles, but didn’t finish things off. That’s why after five minutes of overtime, the shootout would decide the game.
Pavelski missed on the first attempt in a move that felt very un-Pavelski like.
Galchenyuk had the hot hand last night and of course Arizona went with him for the first shot of the game. He didn’t disappoint, putting a quick move on Aaron Dell and then beating him stick side.
We asked the universe for a third Gally goal and we got a third Gally goal. pic.twitter.com/68yB6Phex4— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 24, 2018
No one else was able to score and the Coyotes walked out of SAP Center with a 4-3 win.