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Sharks score 4 unanswered to down Coyotes

Dec 24, 2010 - 8:31 AM
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - San Jose scored four unanswered goals, the last two from Patrick Marleau, and extended its winning streak to four games with a 4-1 win over Phoenix.

Dan Boyle and Joe Thornton also scored for the Sharks, who pulled within three points of Dallas for first place in the Pacific Division with their longest winning streak of the season.

"We're finding more consistency within our lines," said San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. "A lot of the things we whined and complained about earlier in the year are starting to come."

Antero Niittymaki made 24 saves for the victory, while Coyotes goaltender Jason LaBarbera surrendered four goals on 39 shots in the loss.

Ray Whitney scored on a power play 7:50 into the second period to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead, but they never found the net after that, falling to 4-6-2 since a seven-game winning streak in November.

Phoenix has lost two in a row -- and four of its last five -- during the span.

"Sometimes it's good to go through stuff like this just to kind of build a little bit of closeness and just kind of get us back to where we need to be," said LaBarbera. "We kind of lost that the last couple of weeks."

Boyle tied the game at 1-1 soon after Whitney's goal, scoring with a wrist shot through traffic on a power play. Thornton added a goal at 11:53, also on a power play, after Dany Heatley converted a neutral zone turnover into a crisp pass down low for the assist.

Marleau's goals came less than 10 minutes apart in the third period, sealing the win.

He picked up a loose puck and fired it into the top of the net for the first goal, then scored with a slap shot from the right circle for the second, giving San Jose its 4-1 lead on a power play.

Marleau and Thornton ended with three points apiece, while Joe Pavelski had two assists for the Sharks.

Game Notes

San Jose has won five straight games in the series...The Sharks were 3-for-8 on the power play, while Phoenix went 1-for-3...Niittymaki had 10 saves in the third period. LaBarbera stopped 13 shots in a scoreless first.