Third time’s a charm for Coyotes in OT win over Sharks
GLENDALE, Ariz. — When you work overtime you expect to be compensated for it. The Coyotes got a point out of each of their last two overtime affairs in Calgary and Vancouver this week, but they were looking for a better payday when they advanced to period No. 4 against San Jose on Saturday night at Gila River Arena.
Thanks to Mike Smith and Martin Hanzal, they got it.
Smith was spectacular in his second game back from a left-leg injury, stopping 43 shots. Hanzal set a screen on Max Domi’s first-period power-play goal and then redirected Alex Goligoski’s shot from the left point past Sharks goalie Martin Jones to snap a four-game winless streak with a 3-2 win.
“Get the points and chalk ’em up to Mike Smith and move on,” said coach Dave Tippett, whose team was playing its third game in four nights. “We were under siege a little bit.
“We’ve got a lot of young players that are learning some hard lessons here. We’re relying on some of those veterans to get through games and tonight, you could tell it was wearing down on them a little bit.”
San Jose’s 45 shots were a season-high (eclipsing the previous high of 41 also set against Arizona) but the only two they got past Smith came via deflections through traffic — one off the stick of Joe Pavelski; the other from Tommy Wingels.
“I’m well rested so I should be up for a game like that,” Smith said. “I’ve played them a ton of times and I know they’re going to be throwing everything at the net. It’s kind of one of those games where if you’re sleeping at all you’re going to get exposed.
“You’ve got to come in sharp and know that you’re probably going to get a lot of rubber thrown at you. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be in the forties but it happens.”
Tobias Rieder converted a pass off a 2-on-1 from Jordan Martinook to stake Arizona to a 1-0 lead at 1:55 of the first period and Domi made it 2-0 in the second period, but for the third straight game the Coyotes blew a lead and had to go to extra time.
“The whole team, we didn’t work hard enough so we were kind of lucky that we were leading,” Hanzal said. “We’ll take it but we have to get better. That wasn’t good enough tonight.”
Tippett admitted the game was full of emotions. It was the first time the team had played since center Brad Richardson suffered a broken tibia and fibula in Vancouver where he is still in a hospital. It was also Hockey Fights Cancer night at Gila River Arena and Smith dedicated the game to his 2-year-old niece, Elle, who is battling leukemia, and his aunt Mary, who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Coyotes got more bad news when Tucson forward Craig Cunningham collapsed during warm-ups before a Saturday game against the Manitoba Moose at the Tucson Convention Center. Coyotes general manager John Chayka issued a statement.
“Arizona Coyotes center Craig Cunningham suffered a medical emergency on the ice prior to the start of tonight’s game between the Tucson Roadrunners and the Manitoba Moose at the Tucson Convention Center. Cunningham was taken to a local hospital where he is receiving medical treatment. Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig and his family. We will provide a medical update once we receive more information.”
The Coyotes did not expect a further update on Saturday.
“As a group in here we’re thinking about him and his family,” Smith said. “Our thoughts and prayers are going out to them.”
“They got to him right away,” Tippett added. “We’ll have more information (Sunday) but it was one of those real scary incidents.”