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Bad Sharks resurfacing
SJ drops lifeless 5-2 decision to Coyotes
12/21/2023 - By Mike Lee

The Sharks recent string of lackluster performances extended on Thursday night, as San Jose dropped their 4th straight game and 2nd to the Arizona Coyotes in the last week. The Coyotes took advantage of a number of Shark lapses that came at the absolute wrong time, taking a 5-2 win at SAP Center. After appearing to turn a corner two weeks ago, San Jose has reverted to the mistake prone, uninspired play that helped them to an 0-10-1 record to start the season.

Arizona isn't exactly a Stanley Cup contender, but they've been in rebuild mode long enough to start recognizing some of the fruits of their investment. San Jose has evolved into what the Coyotes were years. A team lacking much personnel that are going to be able to compete night in and night out.

Thursday night's Sharks roster was lacking in too many facets for this one to even be competitive. It was another ugly loss.

Arizona extended their shutout streak over San Jose to 4 periods after neither team could get any pucks over the goal line. Filip Zadina had the best scoring chance of the period for San Jose when he released a shot from the low slot in the final minute of the period.

The Sharks out-shot Arizona 12-7 in the period.

The Coyotes broke the scoreless tie at 4:57 of the 2nd period when Michael Kesselring gathered a Clayton Keller drop pass on a 3-on-2 break and snapping it past Mackenzie Blackwood. Fabian Zetterlund was late to get back and cover his defensive assignment in Kesselring.

Zetterlund atoned himself on the next shift when he hit Anthony Duclair at his own blueline as JJ Moser and Matt Dumba tied each other up. Duclair gathered Zetterlund's feed then steamed up ice before slipping a shot past goaltender Karel Vejmelka for his 7th goal of the season.

The tie was as short-lived as the Coyote first lead. Keller received an Adam Kerfoot feed as he was headed up the middle of the ice and bounced a shot off the left post. The puck slid under Blackwood's right pad, but his sliding action carried it over the goal line, crediting Keller with his 12th tally of the season.

Arizona would extend that lead to a pair of goals when Kerfoot was credited with a puck that crossed the goal line after getting tied up in a gaggle of bodies in the crease at the 12:56 mark.

Filip Zadina made it a 1-goal game when he scored his 4th goal of the season just 26 seconds into the 3rd period. The Sharks worked the puck off the end boards, when Mario Ferraro pushed it to the slot. Zadina seemed to lose the handle on the puck as it slowly slid on the ice right past Vejmelka. The Coyotes goaltender appeared to try and get his stick paddle down on the ice to steer it wide of the net, but he simply missed.

Nikita Okhotiuk put his team in a precarious position by taking an ill-timed interference penalty at 6:44. The Coyotes used the man advantage to push their lead back to 2-goals when nick Schmaltz converted on a high low exchange with Kerfoot.

Lawson Crouse made it a 5-2 game at 12:50 by sending a 55-foot shot at the net from the high slot. Blackwood was screened by Nick Bjugstad, and was late to react to Crouse's shot.

Game Notes:

* Alexander Barabanov was a late scratch for the Sharks. No word on why. Kevin Labanc replaced Barabanov in the lineup.

* Givani Smith was injured in the 2nd period when he was checked with an open ice hit. He did not return to the game. Justin Bailey was hurt on the same shift with another hit.

* Coyotes rookie Logan Cooley had to be helped off the ice after he was upended by Fabian Zetterlund and went crashing into the end boards.

* Even in a 5-2 loss, Kyle Burroughs fond a way to produce a +2 night for the Sharks. 4 other Shark skaters were a -2 in the game.

* The Sharks now hit the road for two games. They will head to Vancouver where they will try to even up the season series with the Canucks. San Jose will then return home for Christmas, then head south to play the Kings.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
ARI 0 3 2 5
SJ 0 1 1 2
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, ARI, Kesselring 3 (Keller), 4:57. 2, SJ, Duclair 7 (Zetterlund), 6:20. 3, ARI, Keller 12 (Kerfoot, Durzi), 8:28. 4, ARI, Kerfoot 3 (Schmaltz, Durzi), 12:56.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Zadina 4 (Ferraro, Eklund), 0:26. 6, ARI, Schmaltz 10 (Kerfoot, Keller), 7:44, (pp). 7, ARI, Crouse 14 (Maccelli, Bjugstad), 12:50.
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - O'Brien, ARI (tripping), 10:13; Granlund, SJ (holding), 16:53.
3rd period - Okhotiuk, SJ (interference), 6:44; Zetterlund, SJ (tripping), 13:29.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
ARI - Vejmelka 31 29
SJ - Blackwood 30 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
ARI 7 8 15 30
SJ 12 8 11 31
Power Play Conversion
ARI 1 of 3
SJ 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Adam Kerfoot
Clayton Keller
Sean Durzi
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,435
Officials
Referees: #14 Trevor Hanson, #24 Graham Skilliter. Linesmen: #64 Brandon Gawryletz, #58 Ryan Gibbons.





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