Smith makes 43 saves, Coyotes nip Sharks 3-2 in OT
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — With their minds on two ailing teammates, the Arizona Coyotes pulled out a hard-fought victory Saturday night.
Martin Hanzal redirected Alex Goligoski’s shot into the net at 1:16 of overtime, giving the Coyotes a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Arizona players were aware that minor leaguer Craig Cunningham collapsed on the ice Saturday during pregame warmups with the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL, the organization’s top farm club. He was taken to a hospital and the game was postponed.
The 26-year-old Cunningham played 10 games for the Coyotes last season.
“All I can say is as a group in here, we’re thinking about him and his family,” goalie Mike Smith said. “Our thoughts and prayers are going out to them.”
The Coyotes didn’t have an update on Cunningham’s condition after the game but issued a statement from general manager John Chayka confirming the medical emergency and that Cunningham was receiving treatment at the hospital.
Arizona coach Dave Tippett said more would be known on Sunday.
The Coyotes also were thinking about injured teammate Brad Richardson, sidelined indefinitely after surgery Friday to repair broken bones in his right leg.
“Lots of emotion tonight. It’s good to finish with a win,” Tippett said.
Smith stopped 43 shots for Arizona, 18 in the third period. Tobias Rieder and Max Domi also scored for the Coyotes, who ended a four-game skid and played into overtime for the third straight game.
“Smitty was outstanding and that’s why we won,” Hanzal said.
Smith, who missed 12 games with a lower-body injury before returning earlier in the week, felt well-rested.
“It’s a game that you have to come in sharp and know you’re probably going to get a lot of rubber thrown at you,” he said. “I was hoping it wasn’t going to be in the 40s, but it happens.”
San Jose lost its third in a row despite finishing with a season-high 45 shots on goal.
The Sharks cut the Coyotes’ lead to 2-1 just 41 seconds into the third period on Joe Pavelski’s sixth goal of the season, a long, rising shot that was too fast for Smith to turn aside.
Tommy Wingels scored off a deflected shot from teammate Matt Nieto at 10:28.
Rieder, who missed Thursday’s overtime loss at Vancouver due to injury, opened the scoring. He fired in a centering pass from Jordan Martinook at 1:55 of the first period after Martinook chased down the puck.
It was Rieder’s fifth goal of the season and third in his last four games.
Arizona’s Ryan White and San Jose’s Michael Haley began exchanging punches off the faceoff right after the goal, with Haley getting in the most vicious hook. Haley leads the Sharks in penalty minutes despite having played in only eight games.
The Coyotes mustered just four shots against goalie Martin Jones in the opening period and scored on one of them. Jones made 23 saves.
Jones denied a pair of breakaways in the second, but couldn’t stop Domi’s shot that found an opening short side between the post and Jones’ body at 7:53. Domi’s second goal and team-leading 13th point of the season came 25 seconds after Arizona went on a power play.
The Coyotes were whistled twice for too many men on the ice, but they thwarted all three Sharks power plays.
“Disappointed, but satisfied with the effort,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. “We wanted two points and thought we played hard and maybe deserved them, but we didn’t get them.”
NOTES: Sharks C Tomas Hertl has a lower-body injury and is being evaluated away from the team. Hertl and C Melker Karlsson (ankle) were scratched. ... Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse is dealing with an upper-body injury and was scratched. ... The Coyotes recalled C Christian Dvorak from Tucson before the game. ... Referee Francois St. Laurent left the game after the first period due to illness. ... The Coyotes wore light purple warmup jerseys in honor of Hockey Fights Cancer Night.
Sharks: Host the New Jersey Devils on Monday night to open a five-game homestand.
Coyotes: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night, the middle game of a three-game homestand.