Instant Replay: Sharks bite early, beat Coyotes 4-1
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SAN JOSE – Coyotes goalie Mike Smith had four shutouts in his last seven starts against the San Jose Sharks.
But, he had never faced Tomas Hertl.
The 19-year-old Sharks rookie sensation scored his first NHL goal just 46 seconds into the game, added another less than seven minutes later, and the Sharks skated to a 4-1 win over Phoenix on Saturday night at SAP Center.
On the first goal, Hertl got a step behind the Phoenix defense and received a perfect tape-to-tape pass in the neutral zone from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. His backhander snuck through Smith to give San Jose the early lead.
Hertl’s impressive deflection of a Matt Irwin saucer from the point at 7:23 made it 2-0 on a Sharks power play. Patrick Marleau’s second goal in as many games increased it to 3-0, again with a man advantage, when Vlasic fed him a rebound of a Joe Pavelski shot for an easy tap-in at 12:30.
The Sharks controlled the pace of play for most of the first two periods, at one point holding a 31-10 advantage in shots on goal. The Coyotes got on the board at 16:47 of the second, though, when Oliver Ekman-Larsson used Vlasic as a screen and flung one past Antti Niemi.
Phoenix had momentum for the remainder of the second, but the Sharks regrouped to start the third and were never really in danger. Logan Couture’s first goal of the season into an empty net in the final minute sealed the win.
San Jose outshot the Coyotes for the game, 51-23.
The Sharks improved to 2-0-0, while Phoenix fell to 1-1-0.
Herl became the youngest Sharks player to record two goals in one game since 19-year-old Patrick Marleau did it on March 17, 1999.
Special teams
After taking an ugly 0-for-8 on Thursday, the Sharks converted on two of four power play chances.
San Jose was shorthanded just once, on a delay of game faceoff violation on Andrew Desjardins in the first period. The Coyotes did not capitalize.
In goal
Smith settled in and made some strong saves after the first period, stopping a John McCarthy rebound attempt in the second period by stacking his pads, and a Marleau shot from the circle on a Sharks power play in the third. He finished with 47 saves.
Niemi improved to 2-0 with 22 saves, and has allowed just two goals in two games.
The Sharks made just one change to their lineup from Thursday night’s season opener, inserting McCarthy on the fourth line for Matt Pelech, who was since reassigned to Worcester.
Brad Stuart (lower body) and Adam Burish (lower body) remain out.
The Coyotes were missing defenseman Rusty Klesla (concussion) and forward Paul Bissonnette (suspension).
Up next
The Sharks conclude their three-game homestand on Tuesday night against the New York Rangers. After that, eight of the next 10 games will be on the road, starting with a visit to Vancouver on Thursday.