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Sharks fall in the desert
SJ battles back from 2-0 deficit but can't finish
1/14/20 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks embarked on a three game road trip on Tuesday night with an important stop against a division foe in the Arizona Coyotes. The Pacific Division leading Coyotes extended their lead by dispatching the Sharks 6-3 in what was otherwise a close game. San Jose fell victim to sloppy defensive play that plagued them in December. The Sharks battled back from a 2-0 deficit, only to cough up the lead late in the 2nd period. It was all up hill for San Jose from their and this roster has not shown signs of resiliency this season when trailing.

Phil Kessel took advantage of a Brendan Dillon turnover at the Coyotes blueline. Kessel took a Derek Stepan feed on the right side before skating in and clanking a shot off the crossbar that beat Aaron Dell for the early lead.

Kessel made it a 2-0 Coyotes lead 5:01 into the 2nd period when he whipped a Christian Dvorak feed past Dell while on a power play. The Sharks overloaded on the right side of the ice, and though the puck would wind out along the side boards, but Conor Garland kept in the Sharks zone before flipping it to Dovorak near the right circle. Kessel was flaoting all by his lonesome near the slot and had all day to receive Dvorak's feed before beating Dell just inside the left post.

The Sharks battled back to tie the game on a par of goals. Kevin Labanc scored his 11th goal of the season 1:41 after Kessel's power play goal, when he followed up on a chance after Evander Kane swooped around the back of the net and tried to wrap it around the left post. Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill couldn't stop Kane's chance from fluttering through the crease to the right side where Labanc punched at it, lifting it home.

The score came within an eyelash of turning into a 3-1 lead for the Coyotes when Clayton Keller found himself with the puck and a wide open net on the left side, but Dell shut the door. The Sharks then quickly countered with Antti Suomela sending a diagonal pass out of the right corner to Patrick Marleau streaking up the right wing. Marleau put on the breaks after he cross the blueline, allowing Timo Meier to race up the guy. Marleau flipped a lead pass to Meier, who promptly lifted it past Hill to tie things at 2-2.

Late goals in periods were the Sharks kryptonite in that horrific December, and they let the Coyotes grab a 3-2 lead when Taylor Hall scored with 2:46 left in the period. Meier lost his stick and was unable to defend a Jordan Osterle shot from the high slot. Hall was parked at the top of the crease where he deflected Osterle's shot for his 11th of the season.

San Jose didn't exactly light up the shot counter in the 3rd period as they were down a goal. Lawson Crouse deposited one of Arizona's shots after he was left unattended in the slot and Stepan set him up with a feed from behind the Sharks net.

The Sharks pulled Dell late after Hill was called for tripping Meier to setup a 6-on-4 power play. San Jose converted when Labanc skated the puck toward the left post out of the left corner before whipping a pass to Kane on the off post for the slam dunk goal.

Sharks head coach Bob Boughner may have decided to pull Dell again too early with more than 2 minutes left in a one-goal game. Arizona put things out of reach when Garland scored an empty-net goal at 18:20. Hall added another empty netter to skew the score, in what was a close contest for much of the night.

Game Notes:

* Kevin Labanc played one of his better games of the season, accounting for a goal and an assist. The Sharks forward led the team with 5 shots on goal and was all over the ice for most of the night.

* The Sharks lone all star, Tomas Hertl did not factor into any of the Sharks scoring and was a -2 on the night. Hertl had a pair of shots in the game, but was also 11 for 17 in the faceoff circle (65%).

* The sharks out-hit the Coyotes 25-15. Arizona has amassed a roster full of quick skaters, so the Sharks had to use the body to control some of Arizona's team speed.

* Aaron Dell made 34 saves on 38 shots. The Sharks neteminder continues to provide his team with stellar work in goal. His stop of Clayton Keller in the 2nd period was the save of the game.

* Arizona was backstopped by rookie Adin Hill, who has been called into action with injuries to Darcy Keumper and Ivan Prosvetov.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 1 3
ARI 1 2 3 6
1st period - 1, ARI, Kessel 10 (Stepan), 12:03.
2nd period - 2, ARI, Kessel 11 (Dvorak, Garland), 5:01, (pp). 3, SJ, Labanc 11 (Kane), 6:42. 4, SJ, Meier 16 (Marleau, Suomela), 9:55. 5, ARI, Hall 11 (Oestwele, Garland), 17:14.
3rd period - 6, ARI, Crouse 11 (Stepan), 8:09. 7, SJ, Kane 19 (Labanc, E. Karlsson), 17:51, (pp). 8, ARI, Garland 16 (Hall, Demers), 18:20, (en). 9, ARI, Hall 12 (Crouse), 19:38, (en).
1st period - Kane, SJ (tripping), 17:37.
2nd period - Noesen, SJ (tripping), 3:56; Demers, ARI (tripping), 11:35.
3rd period - Garland, ARI (hooking), 3:21; Hill, ARI (tripping), 17:07.
Shots Saves
SJ - Dell 38 34
SJ - empty net 2 0
ARI - Hill 28 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 12 8 8 28
ARI 9 17 14 40
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
ARI 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Phil Kessel
Conor Garland
Tyler Hall
Gila River Arena - 14,716
Referees: Rooney, Rehman. Linesmen: Knorr, Berg.

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