Shane Doan scored the tie-breaking, game-winning goal late in regulation to help the Coyotes to a 3-1 win over the Sharks at Gila River Arena on Thursday night.
The Arizona captain flung the puck towards the net from an impossible angle, and it deflected off of Martin Jones and behind the Sharks goalie with 1:31 remaining.
An undisciplined boarding penalty to Tomas Hertl put the Coyotes on the power play shortly after Doan’s score, and Antoine Vermette put it away with an empty net marker at 19:06.
San Jose remains in third place in the Pacific Division, squandering an opportunity to leapfrog the Anaheim Ducks.
Two Sharks players were not able to finish the game. Matt Nieto did not play in the third period due to injury, while defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic came out midway through the final frame with what looked to be a wonky right leg after he was hit by Doan with 8:28 to go. Vlasic finished his shift before going to the dressing room.
Arizona’s Mike Stone opened the scoring at 13:23 of the first period, when his point shot nicked Nieto’s stick and fluttered in.
That score came exactly one minute after the first of two San Jose goals were disallowed. Dainius Zubrus’ wrist shot from the slot on a setup by Nick Spaling was overturned after a replay revealed that the Sharks were offsides seconds earlier.
The Sharks seemingly tied the game at 6:29 of the second. Paul Martin drove around Kevin Connauton and flipped the puck towards the net, and it bounced in off of Chris Tierney’s leg. The NHL ruled that Tierney kicked the puck in on a decision that was dubious, at best.
Still, the Sharks found the equalizer at 14:29 of the second. After he was demoted for a shift in favor of Zubrus earlier in the frame, Hertl found the rebound of a Martin shot to make it 1-1, the first marker in seven games for the third year left wing.
The Coyotes visit SAP Center on Sunday. The teams meet for the fifth and final time on April 9 in San Jose in the regular season finale for both.
San Jose took an 0-for-2 on the power play, and is 3-for-13 over its last five games.
Arizona went 1-for-2 on the power play.
Jones was back in the Sharks’ net after getting Tuesday off. He allowed two goals on 21 shots, losing to Arizona for the first time in his career (3-1-0).
Making just his second start from a core muscle injury that kept him out for three months, Mike Smith secured the win with 27 saves.
Tommy Wingels was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.
Arizona was missing its best defenseman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, for the fourth straight game with an upper body injury.
The Sharks open a season-long six game homestand on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers, who claimed a 4-0 win over San Jose on Oct. 19 at Madison Square Garden. Nine of the Sharks’ final 12 games are at SAP Center.