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Coyotes Still Can't Solve Sharks, Fall 4-1 To Pacific Division Rivals

It was the same story, different chapter for the Phoenix Coyotes against their Pacific Division rivals, the San Jose Sharks, on Saturday.

Having lost their first trio of games against the division-leading Sharks, the Coyotes wiped the slate clean and hoped to grab a win on Saturday night on their own ice.

While it certainly looked like they were on track to do that after the first period, the Sharks slowly took control of this game, eventually ousting the Coyotes from their own arena with a 4-1 loss.

The Sharks took the lead early, with Logan Couture backhanding a rebound past Ilya Bryzgalov for the 1-0 lead. The Coyotes would strike back in the period, after Mikkel Boedker grabbed control of a loose puck and slipped it past Antti Niemi to even up the score.

From there, the Coyotes offense would disappear. Niemi was in top form as the two sides traded scoring opportunities in the early going, with the former Chicago Blackhawk stopping 26 of 27 Coyote chances for the remainder of the game.

The Sharks would not be met with such opposition, though, tacking on three more goals in the effort.

The technical game-winner came from Joe Pavelski in the second period. After Joe Thornton's shot looked like it had a shot at going in, Pavelski was able to grab the rebound and push it past Bryz for the 2-1 lead, which San Jose would not surrender.

A rebound reared its ugly head on the Sharks' third goal as well, with a shot from Couture from deep finding its way back to Ryan Clowe to extend the Shark lead to 3-1.

The final blow came on a wrister nearly from the point, courtesy of Couture, who notched his third point of the night on the goal. Clowe's assist on the goal also gave him three for the night.

A game which didn't lack excitement, both sides had strong opportunities early, with the Coyotes gaining chances like the Andrew Ebbet breakaway that went wide, as well as the Sharks' Joe Thornton thumping the post off of a rebound. At the end of the night, it was the Sharks who found themselves able to capitalize on their chances.

Another slew of Coyote injuries didn't help either. With Martin Hanzal missing yet another game, both Lauri Korpikoski and Vernon Fiddler missed Saturday's action as well, and their absence was noticeable.

Rather than force a tie with the Sharks for the top spot in the Pacific Division, the loss puts the Coyotes four points back of San Jose in the race for the Western Conference's third seed.

However, the Coyotes do remain in fourth with the loss, still a point up against both the battered Los Angeles Kings and the surging Nashville Predators.

They'll get another chance on Tuesday in another big Pacific Division tilt, when they host the Dallas Stars.