San Jose at Phoenix

Niemi, Couture power Sharks to victory over Coyotes wire reports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Logan Couture made another big push in his bid for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie -- at the Phoenix Coyotes' expense.

Couture scored twice, reaching 30 goals to pad his San Jose rookie record, and added an assist in the Sharks' 4-1 victory over the Coyotes on Saturday night.

"We noticed [Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov] was not seeing the puck all that well, so just fired on net," Couture said. "[Bryzgalov] is one of the best in the league, but with the kind of night he was having, we wanted to put as many pucks on net as possible."

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Antti Niemi made 25 saves for his 31st victory of the season to help the Sharks open a four-point lead over the Coyotes for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Since Jan. 15, Niemi is 22-4-4.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan recognized Couture's contribution, and his increasing value to the team.

"Logan has been a catalyst, and at times, carried this team," McLellan said. "He has given contributions from everywhere, from scoring, to winning faceoffs and penalty killing. For Logan to reach 30 goals is a great reward for a heck of a good season to this point."

Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe also scored for San Jose, 6-1-3 in its last 10 games.

Mikkel Boedker scored for the Coyotes. The loss was only Phoenix's second in its last 11 games.

As strong as Bryzgalov has been recently in goal, he failed to handle several shots. Three of the four goals came off rebounds.

Couture later picked his up his second of the game on a shot from the blue line that eluded Bryzgalov at 12:13 of the final period.

For the third game in a row, Phoenix started slowly, managing only two shots on Niemi in the first 13 minutes, and just five in the opening period.

"I'm disappointed because we didn't leave everything on the ice," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "I didn't see enough desperation in this game."

The Coyotes paid for their slow start, and the sloppy play from Bryzgalov.

Early in the opening period, Bryzgalov failed to cover Clowe's shot in front and Couture converted the loose puck just over 5 minutes into the game.

The Coyotes quickly responded. Derek Morris' one-timer was deflected in front to Boedker, who slid the puck to the right of Niemi for his fourth of the season at 6:23 of the opening period.

The Sharks regained the lead on another rebound left by Bryzgalov.

Following a 2-on-1 with Joe Thornton and Pavelski, Bryzgalov couldn't handle Thornton's wrist shot and Pavelski backhanded in the rebound at 3:35 of the second period.

Then, Clowe drove in his 24th of the season from a rebound in front when Bryzgalov failed to handle Devin Setoguchi's drive with just over 5 minutes remaining in the middle period.

"We weren't good enough in any area," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "They kind of controlled play and we have to be better than what we showed, and we know that."


  • The Coyotes scratched forwards Vernon Fiddler, Martin Hanzal and Lauri Korpikoski and recalled forward Ryan Hollweg from San Antonio.
  • Morris' first-period assist was his 300th in the NHL.
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Antti Niemi makes 25 saves -- including this one in traffic -- while leading the Sharks to victory over the Coyotes. (Getty Images)
Antti Niemi makes 25 saves -- including this one in traffic -- while leading the Sharks to victory over the Coyotes. (Getty Images)
San Jose  (44-23-9) «1214
Phoenix (41-25-11)1001
Three Stars
L. Couture

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
R. Clowe

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
A. Niemi

Saves: 26
Save Pct.: .963

Related Video

Scoring Summary
05:06 - Logan Couture (29), Backhand Shot. Assist: Clowe, Heatley
06:23 - Mikkel Boedker (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Morris, Turris
03:35 - Joe Pavelski (19), Backhand Shot. Assist: Thornton, Mayers
15:17 - Ryane Clowe (24), Wrist Shot. Assist: Couture, Setoguchi
12:13 - Logan Couture (30), Wrist Shot. Assist: Clowe, White
Penalty Summary
18:50Whitney, 2 min, Hooking
10:58Mitchell, 2 min, Tripping
17:00Bissonnette, 5 min, Fighting
17:00Clowe, 5 min, Fighting
17:43White, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
Shots On Goal
Antti Niemi60:00261
Ilya Bryzgalov60:00284
Game Information
Attendance - 16394
Referees - Marc Joannette, Greg Kimmerly
Linesmen - Mark Shewchyk, Brad Lazarowich
Other Games
NYR 1 Final
Bos 0
Colo 1 Final
LA 4
TB 4 Final
Car 2
Tor 2 Final
Det 4
Wash 2 Final
Mon 0
Phi 4 Final
NJ 0 Final
Buf 2
StL 6 Final
Min 3
Dal 2 Final
Nash 4
Ana 2 Final
Chi 1
Cal 5 Final
Edm 4