GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Lukas Radil isn’t a typical NHL rookie at age 28, with plenty of experience in Russia and his native Czech Republic.
Still, there was something special about his first NHL goal, which broke a tie with 5:47 to play in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.
Radil, playing in just his sixth game of the season after signing with San Jose in April, scored on a backhand wrapround shot as the Sharks blew a 3-0 lead but got their third win in four games.
“I’ve had a dream to play in the NHL and it’s a dream come true to score a goal and help the team win,” Radil said before being presented with the puck from his goal in a largely empty visitors’ locker room. “I really appreciated the Sharks giving me the chance.”
Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl also scored for San Jose. Aaron Dell, playing for the first time since Nov. 28, stopped 17 shots.
Brad Richardson had a goal and assist, and Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik also scored for Arizona. Adin Hill made 28 saves. After a four-game win streak, the Coyotes have lost two straight.
Panik’s sixth goal of the season tied it at 3 at 5:45 of the third as his shot wobbled through Dell’s pads.
The Coyotes pulled Hill with about a minute to play, but Hertl scored an empty-net goal with 51 seconds to play.
“We played hard. We’re right there,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “We’re a little depleted but guys gave it their all.”
The Sharks upped their league-leading first-period goal total to 39 with two less than a minute apart. Pavelski re-directed Brenden Dillon’s long-distance shot with his skate with 5:24 left in the opening period. It was Pavelski’s team-high 19th of the season.
Fifty seconds later, Hertl passed to Couture on a breakout, and Couture pump-faked before burying a backhand under Hill’s legs for his 10th to make it 2-0.
“We found a way to win, were a little fragile but at the same time, I didn’t think we gave them a whole lot,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “I think there’s a lot more good than bad, but still some work to do.”
Kane won a race against Arizona’s Jordan Oesterle for a loose puck and took it in on his own for the Sharks’ third goal, at 5:10 of the second period. But the Sharks couldn’t put away the Coyotes.
“They got some lucky bounces, I’d say,” Kane said. “Tough to give up a three-goal lead again, but good sticking with it. I’m getting some chances here and there and they’re going in.”
Arizona got on the board on its only power play of the night. Clayton Keller didn’t get off a quality shot from in front, but the puck found Schmaltz waiting near the net for a tap-in at 6:55 of the second.
Schmaltz has six points in six games with the Coyotes since being acquired in a trade on Nov. 26.
Richardson got a stick on Jakob Chychrun’s shot for his eighth at 10:43, making it 3-2. Richardson’s eight goals are tied for most on the Coyotes.
NOTES: F Conor Garland, called up from AHL Tucson last Monday, made his NHL debut for Arizona. … C Vinnie Hinostroza is week-to-week with a lower-body injury he suffered against Washington on Thursday and was placed on injured reserve. … Radil replaced Antti Suomela in the lineup. Suomela missed his fourth game of the season. … Sharks C Joe Thornton passed Steve Yzerman for 18th place on the all-time NHL games played list, reaching 1,515 on Saturday. … Former Coyotes player and 17-year NHL veteran Cliff Ronning dropped the ceremonial first puck.
Sharks: Host New Jersey on Monday night.
Coyotes: At Boston on Tuesday night to open a four-game East Coast road trip.
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