GLENDALE -– It wasn’t pretty, but considering the closeness of the playoff race and the way things were trending for the Sharks, that’s of little importance.
Despite falling behind by a pair of goals in the first period to lowly Arizona, the Sharks rallied to beat the Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Friday night, 4-2.
Joe Pavelski led the attack with three goals, including a late empty-netter.
The Sharks ended a three-game losing streak in securing just their second win in the last seven (2-3-2). They remain in second place in the Pacific Division ahead of Calgary, Vancouver, and the surging Los Angeles Kings.
Fourth-liner Barclay Goodrow scored the game-winner in the third period, after a pair of Pavelski markers erased the early 2-0 hole.
Goodrow was given room to glide towards the net by Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy, and found room high over Mike Smith’s near shoulder with 13:37 left in regulation for his fourth goal of the season.
Pavelski’s turn-around shot from center ice at 18:34 with Smith pulled for an extra attacker sealed the win.
The Sharks erased a 2-0 hole to tie the game in the second period.
Joe Thornton helped generate the first San Jose goal on the opening shift, driving the net and trying to slip the puck through Smith’s five hole. The Coyotes goalie made the stop, but Thornton stayed with the loose puck and got it to Joe Pavelski. Pavelski’s pass attempt to Melker Karlsson hit Oliver Ekman Larsson’s skate and slipped through Smith at 27 seconds.
Pavelski’s 30th of the season tied it. On a Sharks power play, Pavelski rifled a feed from Couture over Smith at 13:09.
The second period ended a streak of the Sharks surrendering at least one goal in 11 straight periods of play, not including an overtime marker by Washington on Wednesday.
It didn’t take long for Arizona to open the scoring. Marc Arcobello, claimed off of waivers on Wednesday and making his Coyotes debut, took advantage of a Mirco Mueller neutral zone giveaway and sped into the zone. He beat Antti Niemi at 1:42 of the first period.
The Coyotes scored on another giveaway at 15:07 on the power play. Keith Yandle gobbled up a Brent Burns clearing attempt, got the puck down low to Sam Gagner, and Gagner spotted Martin Erat in the slot for a quick conversion.
The Sharks improved to 9-2-3 in their last 14 games vs. Arizona, and have won five of their last six in Glendale. The teams conclude their five-game season series with a home-and-home on April 3-4.
Thornton had three assists.
Each team struck for one power play goal. The Sharks were 1-for-3, while Arizona was 1-for-2. San Jose is just 11-for-16 on the penalty kill over the last six games (68.7 percent).
Pavelski jumped ahead of Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in power play goals with 16.
Niemi started for the ninth time in the last 10 games, and made 32 saves for his 23rd win. He’s 14-4-4 in his career against Arizona.
Smith, who had been playing well of late, was making his first start of the season against San Jose after Devan Dubnyk got the call in the first two. He allowed three goals on 25 shots.
Pavelski reached the 30-goal plateau for the third time in his career. He’s third in the NHL with 31, trailing only Rick Nash (34) and Ovechkin (33).
Couture increased his point-streak to five games, with two goals and four assists over that span. He missed a brief stretch in the second period after blocking a Brendan Shinniman shot with his right foot.
The Sharks remained without top defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (upper body), who skated in San Jose on Friday. San Jose is 2-2-1 without him this season.
Shane Doan played in his 100th career game against the Sharks. He has 24 goals and 39 assists vs. San Jose.
Arcobello was suiting up for his fourth NHL team this season, tying a league record.
The Sharks host the Lightning on Sunday. They skated to a 2-1 win at Amalie Arena on Nov. 13.
San Jose visits Nashville and Dallas next week before hosting the Kings at Levi’s Stadium next Saturday, Feb. 21.