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Sharks go for 3-0 start in clash with Coyotes

10:11 AM, Jan 24, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks used a first-period barrage to spoil one team's home opener. They hope they saved some goals for their HP Pavilion season debut on Thursday night as they battle the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Sharks began the shortened season with road wins at Calgary and Edmonton. They did not give the Oilers much time to enjoy their first home game of the season as San Jose set a club road record with six first-period goals in a 6-3 win.

San Jose went 3-for-5 on the power play in the game, scoring twice on the man advantage before the game was even five minutes old. Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture both scored twice and had an assist in the win, while Joe Thornton ended with three assists.

"We came out flying. Our power play was great," said defenseman Dan Boyle, who had one of the early goals on the man advantage.

Antti Niemi made 26 saves for San Jose, which will play its next six at home and is looking to win its first three to begin a season since going 4-0 at the start of the 2008-09 campaign.

The Sharks added scoring depth on Wednesday, signing Scott Gomez to a one-year contract. Gomez had his contract bought out by the Montreal Canadiens, who he spent the previous three seasons with.

The 33-year-old Anchorage native totaled six goals and 13 points in 11 games for the Alaska Aces in the ECHL during the lockout, but has only nine goals in his previous two NHL seasons.

It is not known if Gomez will make his Sharks' debut Thursday night.

Phoenix comes to town off its first victory of the season, a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets that followed losses to the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks.

The Coyotes won despite starting goaltender Mike Smith exiting early in the first period with a lower body injury. He suffered what head coach Dave Tippett called a minor injury in warmups and exited after 11 minutes of action.

"I'm not sure where he will be at (Thursday)," said Tippett. "The trainers came to me after warmup and said 'Smith's a little tight and you might want to keep an eye on him,' and little tight turned into can't play."

Smith was expected to travel to San Jose and is day-to-day, though goaltender Chad Johnson is slated to be recalled from the AHL.

Jason LaBarbera earned the win in relief, making 21 saves.

Steve Sullivan, signed as a free agent this offseason, netted his eighth career hat trick and first since Dec. 14, 2009 to pace Phoenix's offense. Sullivan's last three-goal game also came versus the Blue Jackets while with the Nashville Predators.

"We really wanted this game tonight. Obviously starting 0-2 in a shortened season, we knew this was huge for us," Sullivan said.

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson added two scores and one assist for the Coyotes, who also played without Martin Hanzal and Rostislav Klesla due to lower body injuries. Both skaters are day-to-day.

Though the Coyotes won four of six versus the Sharks last season, they have dropped seven of eight and 14 of their last 18 in San Jose.

The Sports Network

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