GLENDALE, Ariz. Arizona has lost its No. 1 goalkeeper for the season and several regulars with serious injuries. However, the Coyotes haven’t lost their fight. Christian Fischer had a goal and an assist, Richard Panik scored Arizona’s twelfth shorthanded goal of the season and the Coyotes snapped San Jose’s seven-game winning streak Wednesday night with a 6-3 victory over the Sharks. The Coyotes have won four out of five and moved within four points of the final playoff spot in a tight Western Conference as they prepare to face another perennial postseason contender in Pittsburgh on Friday. We realize what position we’re in, defenseman Oliver Ekman Larsson said.
You look at the standings right now. It is wide open. We are right there. I do not know how, in all honesty with you. Lots of injuries. We’re just finding ways to get points. That is what we’ve to do now. We are playing hard, playing the proper way. Ekman Larsson, Lawson Crouse, Alex Galchenyuk and Josh Archibald also scored for the Coyotes, the last two after the Sharks pulled goaltender Aaron Dell in the final two minutes. It had been Ekman Larsson’s 108th career goal, tying Teppo Numminen for the franchise record among defensemen. Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves for Arizona, extending his winning streak to four games.
Kuemper became the regular when Antti Raanta was lost for the season with a lower-body injury. Kevin Labanc had a goal and two assists, Evander Kane got his seventeenth goal and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, who were playing the second of back-to-back games after beating Pittsburgh at home Tuesday. It is all hands on deck with that team, Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. They are a Cup favoured, so it was good to win that game. The men have done a good job of having a day-to-day attitude. Short memories, work hard in practice, stick with the game plan and get some individuals playing better.
The Sharks hadn’t lost since falling 8-5 to Calgary on New Year’s Eve and had given up only 10 goals in their last six games. It is difficult since we were on such a good run, Couture said. You never want to go crazy whenever you lose, but you are disappointed whenever you lose, especially a division game and a game that in your brain is winnable. Couture’s goal with five minutes remaining cut it to 4-3, but Galchenyuk scored seconds after the Sharks pulled Dell. Archibald scored moments later. Dell made 36 saves while starting in place of Martin Jones, who linked a career best with his 8th consecutive victory in a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The Sharks have dropped to 16-4-2 in their last 22 games. We were uncharacteristically a little sloppy, a little soft, Coach Peter DeBoer said. We knew we had to get our emotional level back engaged after the game last night, and we didn’t do it quickly enough or for long enough.