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Sharks blank Coyotes behind Toskala's third shutout

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Joe Pavelski was reminded how difficult
it is to score against Curtis Joseph. He also learned how to sneak
one past him.

Pavelski scored for the fifth time in nine games and Vesa
Toskala stopped 23 shots for his third shutout of the season,
lifting the San Jose Sharks to a 4-0 victory over the Phoenix
Coyotes on Monday night.

Milan Michalek, Steve Bernier and Curtis Brown scored for the
Sharks, who beat Phoenix at home for the first time in nearly three
years.

"We had all kinds of chances and Cujo made some great saves,"
Pavelski said, referring to Joseph. "We were crashing the net and
he kept saving them until it finally opened up."

Toskala made a handful of acrobatic stops to record his seventh
career shutout and help the Sharks win at home for the seventh time
in eight games.

"The save Vesa made on (Mike) Comrie midway through the second
period was huge," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "That would have
given them some life and tied the game."

The Coyotes, who had won two of three on the road, fell to 3-11
away from the desert.

Pavelski, who helped Wisconsin win the NCAA championship last
season, had a goal in his NHL debut on Nov. 22, and four in his
first five games. He's gotten at least a point in six of nine
games.

Phoenix, next-to-last in the NHL in penalty killing, got through
the Sharks' first two-man advantage but not the second.

Jeremy Roenick took a double minor for high-sticking Josh Gorges
in front of the Sharks bench, and Zbynek Michalek -- Milan's older
brother -- was called for hooking less than two minutes later.

"We just weren't ready to play," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky
said. "You can't take six penalties in a period and expect to win.
We're being selfish out there and that's what is causing the
penalties."

Joseph, unbeaten in six games against the Sharks last season,
turned back a flurry of shots until Joe Thornton's quick pass
opened the net for Michalek's 10th goal, a shot from the top of the
crease with 1:29 left in the first period. Joseph stopped 21 shots
in the period, and was instrumental in turning back San Jose's
first 5-on-3.

Thornton, who had three assists, has a goal and seven assists in
three games.

"People are finishing the chances he creates," Wilson said.
"He creates so much, he could have had a few more. When things get
rolling, everything usually goes his way."

The Sharks made it 2-0 late in the second period. Taking
advantage of an odd-man rush, Patrick Marleau drew coverage along
the right boards and flipped a backward pass to Bernier in the
slot, who sent the puck into the upper left corner of the net just
moments before tripping over a teammate and sliding into the
boards.

"We did a good job of working down low and using our speed,"
Marleau said. "We threw a lot of rubber at them and finally got
one in there."

Pavelski redirected Thornton's slap shot past Joseph on a power
play to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead with 2:19 left in the second
period.

"(Penalties) are a problem that needs to be fixed or we're not
going to be winning games," Phoenix's Shane Doan said. "It was
tough on Cujo to be on the defensive so much."

Brown scored just over four minutes into the third period.
Thornton used the back of the net to bounce a pass to Brown, who
flipped it into the upper right corner of the net.

"Cujo was keeping them in it," Brown said. "When goalies come
up big like that, you can get frustrated. We didn't get frustrated
and kept our feet moving."

Game notes
Marleau played in his 671st NHL game, matching Mike Rathje
for the Sharks' franchise record. ... Joseph, who recorded his
first career shutout against the Sharks, has 32 wins against San
Jose, his most against any team. ... The Sharks outshot Phoenix
15-1 in the first 12 minutes and finished with a season-high 22 in
the first period. ... Thornton's six shots in the first period
matched a franchise record, done 10 previous occasions. ... The
Sharks' last win at home against the Coyotes was Feb. 5, 2004.