After winning their first 7 games of the season, the San Jose Sharks have lost their last 4 contests, 2 of them coming by way of the shootout. The coyotes turned in a spectacular defensive performance in front of a sell out crowd in the Shark Tank, winning 1-0 in a shootout. There were plenty of offensive opportunities for both teams however, goaltenders Mike Smith and Antti Niemi stood up to the task stopping every shot through 3 periods and the overtime period. Mike Smith knew that this was going to be a tough task against an offensive juggernaut, one that was almost robotic of the power play through the first 5 games of the season.
Not on this night, Smith stopped all 33 shots that the Sharks put on net and they successfully killed off all 4 power play opportunities that the Sharks had, including 2 for delay of game(shooting the puck over the glass) in the 3rd period alone. Smith continued his absolute dominance of the Sharks, a team that he shutout three times last season, this win bring his record to 6-3-1 over them in his career.
As for opposing netminder, Antti Niemi, he stopped all of the shots he had to deal with as well, earning his first shutout of the season. Until the shootout began. The only time the pucks went into the net were in each of the first two rounds of the shootout when Mikkel Boedker and Radim Vrbata beat Niemi with dekes to opposite sides to win the game for the Yotes.
Throughout this game there were plenty of scoring chances going both ways, but none that truly threatened either goaltenders all too much. Mikkel Boedker generated a half-hearted breakaway on Niemi but simply ran our of real-estate and was forced to throw a weak backhander towards Niemi. Goalless, Ryane Clowe was the generation of the offense for the Sharks putting 7 shots on the net.
Martin Hanzal left the game for what has apparently been called precautionary reasons, possibly related to his “lower body injury” that he has been dealing with for most of the season. On the other end of the spectrum, Brent Burns played in his first game of the season, returning from his “lower body injury”. Burns was solid defensively, took one penalty and notched 2 hits under his belt.
This 1-0 shootout win brings the Coyotes record to 5-5-2 on the season, their 12 points on the season brings them to 9th place in he Western Conference which will certainly be extremely close throughout the entire season. The Coyotes look to build off of their strong performance on Monday night when they travel to Colorado to take on the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
About the Author
Written by Nick DeLucia
Chemistry and Mathematics student from Buffalo, NY. I follow every team of every sport, particularly the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Yankees, Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bulls.