Updated Jan 25, 2013 - 8:20 am
'Yotes Notes: Phoenix suffers late meltdown in San Jose
Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won't tell you everything that happened in a hockey game. So, we will give you 'Yotes Notes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Coyotes' 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on January 24.
Making his first start of the 2013 season, backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera did just about everything he could to keep the Coyotes in the contest.
LaBarbera stopped 30 shots on the night, including 14 in a hectic first period when Phoenix was forced to play short-handed on multiple occasions.
Feeding off LaBarbera's dominate effort in goal, Phoenix's offense finally found some rhythm in the second period. After two high-sticking penalties gave the Coyotes a 5-on-3 power play, Steve Sullivan tallied his fourth goal of the season on a beautiful pass by Radim Vrbata.
Phoenix continued to put pressure on Antti Niemi in the final period, and the strategy paid off as Antoine Vermette and Lauri Korpikoski scored 2:27 apart to give the Coyotes a comfortable 3-1 lead.
Losses are tough in a 48-game season, regardless of who they come against.
However Thursday's defeat against Pacific Division foe San Jose had to have hurt a little bit more, if only because the Coyotes (1-3-0) held a two-goal lead with a little over 12 minutes to play inside HP Pavilion Arena.
Behind captain Patrick Marleau, who recorded his third consecutive two-goal game, San Jose rattled over four unanswered goals over the game's final 10:45 and stole a 5-3 home victory.
Heading into the night, the Sharks' first line of Marleau, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski had 14 combined points. Against the Coyotes, the trio collected a staggering 10 points.
• Steve Sullivan's four goals are the second-most for a Coyote through four games. Both Mike Gartner (1996) and Lee Stempniak (2010) had five goals through four games.
• For the second consecutive night, Phoenix was without Rostislav Klesla and Martin Hanzal. In addition, goaltender Mike Smith, who left Wednesday's win over Columbus with a lower-body injury, remains listed as day-to-day.
• Jason LaBarbera hasn't won a game at San Jose since November 2007 when he was a goaltender for the Los Angeles Kings.
And speaking of those Kings, the Coyotes welcome the defending Stanley Cup champions to Jobing.com Arena Saturday night. The Western Conference Finals rematch is scheduled to start at 6:00 pm MST.
Dave Dulberg, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
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