SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Logan Couture scored the lone goal in the shootout to lead the San Jose Sharks to their fourth straight win, a 3-2 decision over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic celebrated his 26th birthday by scoring the game-tying goal with 5 minutes left in the third period. Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, extending his streak to four straight games with a goal.
Antti Niemi made 27 saves as San Jose extended its longest winning streak since opening the season with seven consecutive wins. Niemi stopped Antoine Vermette in overtime and turned aside all three shootout attempts.
Boyd Gordon and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes, who have lost eight of their past nine games to plummet in the Western Conference standings. Jason LaBarbera made 32 saves to lose his seventh straight decision to San Jose.
Couture, who blocked a shot with San Jose short-handed in the closing seconds of overtime, started the shootout with a goal when he came in with speed and beat LaBarbera with a forehand. Niemi ended it with a pad save against Mikkel Boedker in the third round.
The Coyotes took the lead 33 seconds into the third period when Vrbata got inside of Tommy Wingels to receive a pass in the slot from Shane Doan. Niemi stopped Vrbata's first attempt but had no chance on the rebound that put Phoenix ahead 2-1.
The game stood there until late in the period when Vlasic pushed in aggressively behind the net with the Sharks desperate for the tying goal. Pavelski put a shot on net from a bad angle and Vlasic knocked the rebound past LaBarbera.
It was a clean game with neither team wanting to give up a power play by being too aggressive for a penalty. There was only one penalty called in regulation, a double minor for high-sticking against Phoenix's Rob Klinkhammer on Justin Braun in the second period.
The Coyotes paid for the offensive zone penalty when Pavelski took a drop pass from Joe Thornton at the blue line and blasted a shot past LaBarbera early in the second period to match a career best with a goal in four straight games.
The Sharks generated plenty of scoring chances in the first period but still trailed 1-0 because LaBarbera came up big in the net and Gordon capitalized on Phoenix's best opportunity. After a scramble for the puck near the front of the net, Gordon got there and lifted a backhand into the net to end Niemi's scoreless stretch of more than 136 minutes.
LaBarbera made 14 saves in the period, including tough ones from in close against Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe and a pad save against Thornton just before the period ended.
NOTES: The Sharks' only other regulation home loss came Feb. 5 against Chicago. ... San Jose D Jason Demers was scratched after taking a hard hit Thursday against Detroit. ... Brent Burns, who played the last nine games at forward, moved back to defense and Adam Burish played wing on a line with Thornton and Marty Havlat. ... Phoenix D Keith Yandle played in his 400th career game.