GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Curtis Joseph followed his worst game of
the season with one of his best.
Joseph stopped 20 of 21 shots, including a late flurry in the
closing minutes, and Mike Comrie scored a power-play goal with
17:08 remaining to help the Phoenix Coyotes edge the San Jose
Sharks 2-1 on Thursday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Statistically, I had a bad game the other night," Joseph said
jokingly of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to St. Louis, in which he allowed
five goals on 12 shots. "The best thing is to get right back out
Jamie Lundmark also scored a power-play goal for the Coyotes,
who won for the first time since coach Wayne Gretzky took an
indefinite leave of absence on Dec. 17 to be with his ailing mother
who died on Monday.
"We knew we had to play well to win," Joseph said. "We played
desperate the last game and it was one of those games where nothing
we're right. Tonight we got it done and against a really good
Joseph said his focus was heightened by the presence of Joe
Thornton, whose 14-game point streak was snapped.
"He's always behind the net lurking," Joseph said. "He
protects the puck so well and is able to find the passes. You have
to know where everyone is when he's got the puck."
Patrick Marleau had an unassisted goal for the Sharks, who lost
for the second time in nine games.
San Jose spent the final 28 seconds with a two-man advantage
thanks to a cross-checking penalty on Ladislav Nagy and coach Ron
Wilson's decision to pull Evgeni Nabokov for an extra attacker. But
Joseph, with the help of a blocked shot by defenseman Zbynek
Michalek, was able to keep the Coyotes in the lead.
Comrie scored just 11 seconds after a hooking penalty against
Scott Hannan gave the Coyotes a two-man advantage. Paul Mara
one-timed a shot from the high slot and Nabokov also saved Nagy's
rebound attempt from the side of the crease.
But Nabokov was unable to control the puck, which bounced to
Comrie between the circles. With Nabokov still standing at the
right side of the crease, Comrie fired the puck into the vacated
center of the net for the game-winner.
"It was a tight checking game and they should never have gotten
a 5-on-3," Wilson said. "That was not a good call. A guy's stick
is stuck in another guy's sweater, that's not hooking and he made a
call. I think he thought Hannan was right-handed and had his stick
wrapped around him but it wasn't. We've got a great hockey game
going and then get put down on a 5-on-3 on a questionable call."
Mike Ricci appeared to make it 3-1 with 6:30 remaining, but the
goal was waved off after video goal judge Adam Keller ruled Ricci
had kicked the puck into the net.
Marleau needed just 91 seconds to give San Jose a 1-0 lead.
Coyotes defenseman Sean O'Connell attempted to clear the puck but
his pass bounced off Marleau, who quickly gained control of the
puck and beat Joseph on a backhand from the slot.
Lundmark tied the game 1-1 at 11:52 of the period, redirecting a
pass from Derek Morris past Nabokov from between the circles.
"When your confidence is down the last thing you want to do is
scream at the players too much," said Phoenix interim coach Rick
Tocchet. "But we were playing tentative and (associate head coach)
Barry Smith and I had to get on them a little bit. We were on our
heels, and championship teams play on their toes, not on their
Thornton had tied the Sharks' franchise record with an
assist in each of the eight games he's played since he was traded
to San Jose from Boston on November 30. ... The Coyotes were
without LW Geoff Sanderson, who was out with a hip flexor suffered
in Tuesday's loss to St. Louis. Sanderson was replaced on the
roster by Tim Jackman, whom Phoenix acquired from Columbus with
Sanderson on Oct. 8. ... Jackman, who led the AHL's San Antonio
Rampage in penalty minutes, entered the scoring sheet when he was
pummeled in a one-sided fight with Rob Davison midway through the
second period. "He didn't play a lot but he did what we asked him
to do," Tocchet said.<