The single biggest difference between Saturday’s game between the Phoenix Coyotes and the San Jose Sharks and a playoff contest is that this game ended in a shootout. At the start of the day, Phoenix was just two points ahead of San Jose, while the Sharks were just one point shy of a playoff spot. In the ultra tight Pacific Division, every game is important, but a divisional contest with just two weeks left is vital.
Phoenix’s Daymond Langkow struck first with a goal just 6:31 minutes into the contest. Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns responded with back-to-back goals for San Jose. Joe Thornton assisted on both of those goals, bringing him up to 750 career assists. Thornton is just the 41st player in the history of the NHL to reach that milestone and he’s currently tied with Larry Robinson for 40th place on the all-time list.
Derek Morris evened the game with a goal as time was expiring in the first period. You can check out his buzzer beater and all the game’s highlights below.
Lauri Korpikoski and Daniel Winnik exchanged goals early in the second period before goaltenders Mike Smith and Antti Niemi locked things down for the remainder of regulation time. However, it was all San Jose in the shootout as they picked up that all-important extra point.
The Los Angeles Kings lost in regulation while the Colorado Avalanche finished Saturday’s game against Vancouver with nothing more than a consolation point. As a result, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Colorado are all tied for eighth place in the Western Conference with 86 points. That being said, the Avalanche are at a significant disadvantage as they only have five games left, compared to the Sharks and Kings, which have played in 75 contests each. Colorado and San Jose are scheduled to meet on Monday in what could be a defining contest for the Avalanche.
Thanks to the charity point the Phoenix Coyotes picked up, they are now in seventh place in the Western Conference. However, they are just one point ahead of the Sharks, Kings, and Avalanche. Phoenix has also played in one extra game than San Jose and Los Angeles, so they can’t afford to let their razor thin lead go to their head.