PHOENIX (AP) _ Mike Ricci and Jeff Friesen scored off rebounds and Mike Vernon set a San Jose record for career shutouts by stopping 27 shots as the Sharks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0 on Monday night.
The Sharks, who had lost nine straight to the Coyotes, ended Phoenix’s five-game unbeaten streak and moved four points ahead of idle Los Angeles in the developing race for the eighth Western Conference playoff spot.
The shutout, Vernon’s fourth this season, was his ninth in 99 games with the Sharks. He was tied with Arturs Irbe, who had eight in his first 183 games.
Stephane Matteau scored into an empty net with 48 seconds left to close out the scoring.
Vernon’s toughest moment came on a Phoenix power play 6:48 into the third period. Keith Tkachuk smacked a wrist shot toward the net and the red light came on, but was doused quickly when Vernon came up with the puck in his glove.
The Sharks, who have the NHL’s worst power play, scored on their second of this game when Ricci deflected a slap shot by Andy Sutton with 6:28 to play in the first period.
The Sharks increased their lead to 2-0 with 9:13 left in the second period when Joe Murphy’s shot from near the blue line bounced off Khabibulin’s pads, and Friesen kicked the rebound in. After a review showed he was pushed into the crease before the puck, the goal was allowed.