With just 12:32 left in the game, Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi couldn't corral the puck on a shot by Coyotes left wing Lauri Korpikoski, and suddenly, the sellout crowd of 17,562 was pretty silent, as the home team trailed by two scores.
Enter Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture.
To wit, Marleau scored two goals before the game was over -- giving him six goals in three games this season -- and the home team survived its first big scare of the regular season to escape with a 5-3 win, keeping their perfect record this season intact.
San Jose took a 1-0 lead with just 38 seconds left in the first period on a power-play goal by center Logan Couture, but for the next 29 minutes of game time, the visitors took it to the home team.
Phoenix tied the score in the second period, while holding the Sharks to just two shots on goal in the middle frame.
When Niemi gave up the two goals pretty early in the third period, it looked like a repeat of the team's woes from the past two seasons: third-period struggles costing San Jose points in the standings.
The Coyotes' go-ahead goal 5:01 into the third may have been the result of a non-call on Phoenix for interfering with Niemi, but that Korpikoski wrister was all on Niemi.
Luckily, his teammates bailed him out:
- Marleau scored on a wrist shot, assisted by center Joe Thornton with 10:45 left;
- Right wing Martin Havlat poked in the puck on a scramble around the net at the 13:06 mark to tie the game;
- The game-winning goal, Marleau's sixth score of the young season, was another wrister, assisted by both Joes (Pavelski and Thornton) -- including Big Joe's eighth helper of the year -- with just 1:53 left in the period;
- Thornton scored his first goal of the year on an empty-netter with three seconds remaining.
Of course, the crowd was back into the game the second Marleau scored his first goal, and it was such a huge moment for the team and the crowd. The two mostly-fluky goals by the Coyotes really felt like a blow to the gut for the fans, who were certainly wanting the team's first home win since April 7.
And they got what they wanted -- and perhaps, needed, thanks to the Marleau and Thornton Show, although it's hard to overlook Pavelski and Couture right now, either.
A quick glance at the top scorers in the country shows Thornton leading the National Hockey League in points (9) and assists (8). Marleau is second in points (8) and first in goals (6). Pavelski is third in points (7) and second in assists (7), and Couture is third in points (7).
It's like 2006 all over again, in some ways. The Sharks are lighting it up, and that ability to score in bunches saved San Jose on Thursday night.
The penalty kill had some tough moments, killing only four of six Phoenix opportunities, even though they did fight off a 5-on-3 in the third period just prior to the Coyotes' second goal.
And Niemi obviously had his lapses, too.
But it's early in the season, and these flaws hopefully can be worked on -- although there won't be a lot of time to do so between games, with so many of them packed in tight every week.
The Sharks take the ice both days this weekend: they have a 1 p.m. start on Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche and a 5 p.m. call on Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks.
It's not going to get any easier, so San Jose should feel fortunate to be one of only five perfect teams remaining in the NHL right now.
The longer they can keep this offensive roll steaming, the better it'll be for their postseason chances.