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NHL Game Summary - Phoenix at San Jose

(Friday, March 30th)

Final Score: San Jose 4, Phoenix 2

San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Patrick Rissmiller scored and also added an assist as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-2, at HP Pavilion.

Christian Ehrhoff, Scott Hannan and Jonathan Cheechoo also tallied, and Evgeni Nabokov finished with 25 saves for the surging Sharks, who tied a season-high with their fifth straight home victory.

With 100 points, San Jose and Dallas are now four points behind Pacific Division-leading Anaheim. The Stars have two games in hand while the Sharks have one on the Ducks.

Fredrik Sjostrom and Steven Reinprecht scored for Phoenix, which has lost four straight and is tied with Chicago for the fewest points in the West. Curtis Joseph finished with 21 saves for the Coyotes, who will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

The Sharks drew first blood in the second period, as Curtis Brown intercepted a clearing attempt at the blue line by Phoenix. He nabbed the puck and found Mike Grier, who quickly dished to Rissmiller alone in the slot. The crafty center then wristed the disc through the five-hole of Joseph at 4:20.

San Jose increased its lead in the middle stanza, as Patrick Marleau corralled the puck and attempted to feed Mark Bell out front. The puck ricocheted up in the air and Phoenix attempted to clear the zone, but Ehrhoff nabbed the disc at the blueline and rifled a shot into the top right corner of the net at 17:09.

Phoenix cut it to 2-1 just over a minute later, as Sjostrom?s wrist shot got past a screened Nabokov at 18:23.

Two quick goals then gave San Jose a three-goal cushion in the final stanza.

Grier started the rally when he led a three-on-two rush before his pass found its way cross-ice to Hannan, who sent the puck into the back of the net at 4:04. Then, a little more than a minute later, Cheechoo moved in on the breakaway, faked a shot, then roofed the puck up and under the crossbar to make it 4-1.

" I saw Grier kind of break out on the right side there, and I didn't see anybody, so I kind of kept coming up the play," said Hannan, describing his goal. "I saw him look back toward Brownie (Brown), and the puck bounced weirdly right to me. I'm not going to say I faked the goalie out, but I kind of put it up net and it went in. Just like we do it in practice."

Phoenix converted on a 5-on-3 opportunity as Reinprecht knocked in a rebound chance at 8:56 to make it 4-2, but that was as close as the Coyotes would get the rest of the way.

The Sharks were down two men with just over a minute to play, but squashed any chance of a Phoenix rally by repeatedly clearing the zone and pressuring the Coyotes in the offensive end.

"We played pretty solid in the sense that we played against a good hockey club," said Phoenix head coach Wayne Gretzky. "We turned the puck over on the first goal, battled back after the second goal on the power play. They kept coming at us and made a heck of a play on the fourth goal. Cheechoo made a great shot and the difference in the hockey game. We had our opportunities, we had chances and 1-0 in the second period, three power plays and we didn't capitalize. Our effort was pretty strong but our outcome obviously wasn't what we hoped for."

Game Notes

Phoenix went just 1-for-9 on the power play...The Sharks finished 1-for-3 on the man-advantage...The Coyotes have dropped 14 of their last 16 games overall... The Sharks have won four straight against the Coyotes, outscoring them 18-6...San Jose has won six of this season's eight meetings between the teams...Grier had two assists for the Sharks.

03/31 01:55:23 ET

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