for this game

Niemi helps Sharks secure No. 2 seed in West

Apr 10, 2011 - 7:33 AM
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Antti Niemi stopped 35 shots as the San Jose Sharks clinched the second spot in the Western Conference with a 3-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Sharks finished the regular season with a 48-25-9 record to win the Pacific Division, but do not yet know who they will host in the first round.

"Our goal was to end up as high as we could in the standings, to grow as a team ... and to allow us an opportunity to play on," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "And that's all we've accomplished to this point."

Phoenix, meanwhile, dropped from the fourth spot in the conference with the loss and Anaheim's win over Los Angeles. The Coyotes, who finished the season 43-26-13, are currently in sixth.

"We worked very hard, we knew there was a lot at stake for us," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "We had a chance to get home ice, and it didn't come to be. So our fate will be decided tomorrow."

Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Ian White scored for the Sharks, who went 25-11-5 at home this season.

Lauri Korpikoski had the lone goal while Ilya Bryzgalov made 34 stops for the Coyotes, who went 22-13-6 on the road this season.

After a scoreless first period, San Jose scored at the 7:11 mark of the second when White's shot from the right point sailed into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Skating on the power play, the Sharks took a 2-0 lead with 1:23 left in the second. Pavelski chipped the puck into the net from down low off a short pass from Joe Thornton at the right side.

Phoenix made it a one-goal game at the 8:36 mark of the third period on Korpikoski's 19th goal of the season.

San Jose, though, sealed the win with 1:31 to play during a power play, as Couture banged the puck in while near the net, moments after Bryzgalov made a beautiful diving stop on Thornton.

Game Notes

The Sharks took five of six from the Coyotes this season...San Jose won five of its final seven games of the season...Phoenix, which finished with 99 points, was a point shy of posting consecutive 100-point seasons for the first time in club history. Last season the Coyotes notched a franchise-record 107 points.