San Jose finally avoids OT


PHOENIX (AP) -- Mike Ricci gave the San Jose Sharks the quick
start they needed.

Ricci and Marco Sturm scored on San Jose's first two power
plays, and the Sharks kept their intensity throughout a 5-0 victory
over the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night.

"We knew these guys jump out hard, so we had to come out
hard," Ricci said.

In three straight overtime games leading up to the rout, the
Sharks had to rally from deficits of 3-0, 2-0 and 2-0 in the third

"The things we normally do in the third, we did in the first,"
coach Ron Wilson said. "We had a lot of traffic in front of
(goaltender) Sean Burke, and we made life difficult not only for
him but his defense."

Alyn McCauley, Vincent Damphousse and Brad Stuart also had goals
for the Sharks, who have an NHL-high eight ties -- one off their
2002-03 total. They needed the win just to tie Pittsburgh for
fewest victories in the NHL (4).

Stuart's goal typified how things fell apart for the Coyotes.

He was the last Sharks player to touch the puck before Phoenix
defenseman Brad Ference, trying to clear it from the boards,
slapped it into the skates of goaltender Brian Boucher.

It rattled off Boucher's right skate, the left and into the net
with 4:09 left in the second period, sending the Sharks to a 5-0

"I just dumped the puck in," Stuart said. "I don't really
know what happened. I guess he shot it in off his goalie or
something, so I'll take it."

Kyle McLaren had two assists, and Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa
Toskala teamed up for San Jose's second shutout of the season.

Nabokov, who shut down Philadelphia in an 0-0 tie on Oct. 16,
hurt his groin in the first period after stopping nine shots.

Toskala finished with 31 saves, withstanding four Phoenix power
plays over two periods.

Phoenix also changed goalies as the Sharks drove Burke to the
bench 5:50 into the second period when Damphousse scored their
fourth goal.

Boucher faced the last 12 San Jose shots, stopping 11.

Sturm got the action started 6:04 in when McLaren sent him the
puck deep on the right wing. Sturm skated below the goal line, then
reached back to fire the puck past Burke into a gap on the far

Ricci scored on a deflection with 9:32 left, after Phoenix's
Brian Savage went to the penalty box for bumping Nabokov on his way
across the crease.

"The second goal was critical," Coyotes coach Bob Francis
said. "The call on Savage changed the complexion of the game."

McCauley wristed a shot past Burke from the circle 2:32 later.

Burke finished with 17 saves.

"It's disappointing as a team to have that big, emotional win
against St. Louis (Wednesday) and then come with as poor of an
effort as we did," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.

Damphousse got his first goal of the season by handling a hard
crossing pass from Niko Dimitrakos and tapping the puck in.

"I've had close to 50 shots, and it wasn't normal," said
Damphousse, who last scored on March 22 against Anaheim. "So I
knew it was going to come around. It just looks bad when you start
the year with zero."

Game notes
Damphousse's goal was his 421st, tying him with Stephane
Richer for 63rd on the NHL career list. ... San Jose, beaten 4-1 on
Oct. 10, 1996, in the first regular-season game played at America
West Arena, paid its last visit. The Coyotes have four more home
games in Phoenix before opening a new arena in suburban Glendale on
Dec. 27. ... Ference was a healthy scratch in nine of 11 previous
games. ... The Coyotes had earned at least one point in six
straight games (3-0-2-1). ... Phoenix C Daymond Langkow's NHL-best
streak of six games with an assist ended.