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National Hockey League

San Jose slips past Phoenix in shootout

Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Patrick Marleau scored the decisive shootout goal to send the visiting San Jose Sharks to a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

After the first participant for both teams lit the lamp, San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi turned away Radim Vrbata, who had tied the game with 6:25 remaining in the third period.

Marleau then slipped the puck between the pads of Phoenix netminder Mike Smith before Niemi stopped Oliver Ekman-Larsson to secure the extra point.

"It was a very competitive game. We played a much better game than our last one," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "It was a fast-paced, entertaining game that came down to one shot in a shootout."

Niemi made 34 saves for San Jose, which has won three straight games -- all in shootouts.

"On the road, sometimes it's easy to have games get away from you. You have to have the will to keep fighting through it and I thought our guys did that," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said.. "A month ago we were talking about how poor we were in the shootouts. The same guys who were missing then are now scoring."

Smith finished with 28 saves for the Coyotes, whose last four games have been decided beyond regulation (1-0-3). They have dropped five of six overall.

Brent Burns buried Joe Pavelski's behind-the-net pass to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead at 10:10 of the third period, but Vrbata snapped the puck home from the left circle on a power play.

A turnover by San Jose in the offensive zone led to David Moss giving Phoenix a 1-0 lead. He gathered the puck, spun around in the slot and fired a shot past Niemi at 7:43 of the first period.

Pavelski tied the game 9:56 into the second period, but the Coyotes quickly moved back in front when Moss registered his second goal on a tip at 11:04. Marleau beat Smith on a shot from the slot for a 2-2 tie at 13:13 of the middle stanza.

Game Notes

Friday marked the 10-year anniversary of the Coyotes' first game at Jobing.com Arena ... The Sharks improved to 6-5 in shootouts this season, while Phoenix fell to 4-4 in the tiebreaker.

12/28 02:11:17 ET

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