Coyotes' Meltdown In Third Spoils Paul Bissonnette's Big Night Vs. Sharks

"Biz Nasty"'s first goal of the season for Phoenix wasn't enough, as the Coyotes let another game to the Sharks slip away in the 5-3 loss.

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Phoenix Blows Another Third Period Lead As Sharks Continue Dominance Over Coyotes

For at least two periods, it looked like the Phoenix Coyotes were finally going to end their struggles against the rival Sharks from San Jose.

Then the third period happened.

Phoenix entered the third period boasting a 3-1 lead. A win would have been their first over the Sharks in six contests, and their sixth in a row on the road. Not only that, but the Coyotes led 3-0 up until eight seconds were left in the second period, with one of those goals coming from Paul Bissonnette, his first real contribution to the stat sheet all season.

That third period saw the Coyotes get outshot 15-6, with four San Jose goals finding their way into the net, including the empty netter at the end.

After scoring at the end of the second, Joe Pavelski notched his second goal of the game less than two minutes into the third period. Then new Shark Kyle Wellwood scored his first San Jose goal, with other new Shark Ben Eager contributing his first San Jose point on the score.

With the score at 3-3, it was already bleak for Phoenix. It got even worse when Patrick Marleau scored a shorthanded goal for the Sharks, and gave San Jose their first lead of the game. Joe Thornton's empty net goal was the final nail in the coffin, as the Coyotes lost 5-3.

The loss comes not long after Phoenix experienced a similar meltdown to the cellar-dwelling Edmonton Oilers, in which the Coyotes lost in the waning seconds. 

The Yotes have now lost five of seven, including a pair to the Sharks, and have developed a Chicago Blackhawks-like penchant for blowing leads. It won't get any easier for them when the Coyotes return to Jobing.com Arena to host the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.

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Phoenix Coyotes Open "Second Half" On Road Vs. San Jose Sharks

Now that all of the All Star festivities are out of the way, it's time for the Phoenix Coyotes to concentrate on what's really important: their stretch run.

Phoenix heads into Tuesday's tilt with the San Jose Sharks sitting in sixth in the Western Conference, but just one point back of the fourth place Nashville Predators. San Jose just recently found themselves back in contention, heading into the break at eighth in the West.

Despite the fact that the Coyotes are winless in their last six against San Jose (0-3-3), road trips seem to favor the Yotes of late. They've won their last five on the road and are 15-8-4 away from Jobing.com Arena.

Keith Yandle brings his nine-game point streak to Tuesday's game, the longest active streak in the NHL. The NHL's leader in points by a defenseman, with 44, also has three consecutive multi-point games, with two points in each of Phoenix's trio of games before the break.

Ilya Bryzgalov will be looking to stop his own skid against the Sharks, having lost his last four to the Coyotes' Pacific Division rivals. That four-game winless streak comes despite a 2.13 GAA against the Sharks in those starts. On the season, Bryz has posted a 2.64 GAA and .916 save percentage, but has struggled recently, giving up 10 goals in his three starts prior to the break, posting a 1-2 record in those starts.

As the Sharks begin to turn their season around, Antti Niemi has been right in the middle of it. The former Chicago Blackhawk hasn't lost in regulation in his last five, going 4-0-1, while allowing more than two goals in one of those starts. Quite a contrast from earlier this season, when Niemi was giving up five or six goals on a somewhat regular basis.

The Coyotes will play just this one on the road, before returning to the desert for a trio of key Western Conference tilts. With three of the next four teams they face nipping at their heals, and the other (Vancouver) enjoying life at the top, the next stretch of games becomes crucial for the Phoenix Coyotes.

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