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Coyotes beat Sharks, earn playoff berth

Apr 9, 2011 - 6:08 AM
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata each had a goal and an assist as the Phoenix Coyotes punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks.

With 99 points, Phoenix moved into a tie with Nashville, which also won on Friday, for the fourth spot in the Western Conference as each team has a game to play. Phoenix will wrap up the home-and-home set and its season in San Jose on Saturday while Nashville plays in St. Louis on Saturday.

"I said before the season started that every point is valuable and we got down to every point," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "That's a big two points we got here tonight and we still have a shot at home-ice for the playoffs."

San Jose stays a point ahead of idle Detroit for the second spot in the Western Conference as each team has one game left. Detroit's last game is in Chicago on Sunday.

Ray Whitney and Andrew Ebbett each had a goal for the Coyotes, who had dropped three of four coming in. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 24 shots in the win.

Ian White and Dany Heatley scored goals and Joe Thornton recorded the 1,000th point of his career with a goal in the third period for the Sharks, who have dropped their past two. Antti Niemi made 22 saves in the loss.

"We feel good and we feel confident," said Thornton. "We have three more periods before the big party starts and we will be ready for it."

The only goal of the first period came from Ebbett as his wrister beat Niemi with 4:02 left in the frame to give Phoenix a 1-0 lead.

San Jose tied it 4:31 into the second on White's third goal of the year, but Phoenix answered twice in the frame for a 3-1 advantage.

The first goal came at the 8:57 mark when Doan sent a pass from the right boards to the front where Whitney chipped it in.

Just over 2 1/2 minutes later, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle hit a post and Phoenix went back the other way on a 3-on-1 break. Eric Belanger fired a pass from the left wing to the right side where Vrbata roofed the puck for his 19th of the campaign.

Doan's 20th of the season -- on the power play at the 8:22 mark of the third -- gave Phoenix a 4-1 lead, but San Jose counterpunched twice.

Thornton entered the 1,000-point club at the 9:27 mark as he batted the puck out of mid-air in front of the net for his 21st goal of the season.

Heatley then made it a one-goal game with 3:39 to play as he skated around to the high slot and blasted a shot into the net.

San Jose, though, was unable to net the equalizer despite several quality chances at the end.

Game Notes

Thornton is the 78th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points and is the second player to accomplish the feat in a Sharks uniform (Vincent Damphousse)...San Jose had won eight straight in the series...Bryzgalov also recorded his 130th victory as a member of the Coyotes and broke the all-time Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise record previously held by Bob Essensa.

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    Sharks 3, Coyotes 4  FinalApr 11 11:28 AM

  • SAN JOSE: 3
    PHOENIX: 4

    Apr 9 12:35 AM

  • San Jose Goal - Dany Heatley (26), at 16:21.

    Sharks 3, Coyotes 4  3rd - 3:39Apr 9 12:29 AM
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    Sharks 3, Coyotes 4  3rd - 3:39Apr 9 12:29 AM

  • San Jose Goal - Joe Thornton (21), from Douglas Murray at 9:27.

    Sharks 2, Coyotes 4  3rd - 10:33Apr 9 12:14 AM

  • Phoenix Power-Play Goal - Shane Doan (20), at 8:22.

    Sharks 1, Coyotes 4  3rd - 11:38Apr 9 12:12 AM

  • SAN JOSE: 1
    PHOENIX: 3
    End of 2nd

    Apr 8 11:40 PM

  • Phoenix Goal - Radim Vrbata (19), at 11:31.

    Sharks 1, Coyotes 3  2nd - 8:29Apr 8 11:26 PM
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    Sharks 1, Coyotes 2  2nd - 8:37Apr 8 11:25 PM

  • Phoenix Goal - Ray Whitney (17), from Shane Doan and Eric Belanger at 8:57.

    Sharks 1, Coyotes 2  2nd - 11:03Apr 8 11:21 PM

  • San Jose Goal - Ian White (3), from Niclas Wallin and Torrey Mitchell at 4:31.

    Sharks 1, Coyotes 1  2nd - 15:29Apr 8 11:12 PM

  • Phoenix Goal - Andrew Ebbett (2), from Kyle Turris at 15:58.

    Sharks 0, Coyotes 1  1st - 4:02Apr 8 10:38 PM

  • SAN JOSE: 0
    PHOENIX: 0
    1st Period - 20:00

    Apr 8 10:16 PM
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    Sharks vs. CoyotesMar 6 7:55 PM
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    Sharks vs. CoyotesJun 23 6:03 AM