(SAN JOSE) -- Antti Niemi didn't play his best tonight, giving up two goals in the first two periods on only 14 shots, but by the time the San Jose Sharks got to the overtime shootout, they had to like their chances to win.
And after Logan Couture scored on the first attempt of the shootout, things looked good for the Sharks. But Radim Vrbata scored in the second round of the shootout to knot things up, and when San Jose skaters couldn't crack Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, the SAP Center got tense.
With good reason, too, as Antoine Vermette ended the night in the fifth round of the shootout with a 13-foot backhander that beat the Sharks goalie easily.
And just like that, the 3-2 loss gives San Jose a two-game losing streak, although just like the defeat in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the Sharks did pick up a point for the standings.
San Jose actually seemed a bit off all night, as Vermette scored just 36 seconds into the game, and even though the Sharks eventually took a 2-1 lead in the second period on goals from Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle -- yes, he is back and healthy, which is great news for the Sharks -- they couldn't keep the edge for long.
Like Wednesday in L.A., San Jose had trouble skating with the lead, even though they out-shot the Coyotes 50 to 30 on the night. Credit Smith with keeping the Sharks out of the net, including a very close call with about 14 seconds left in the third period that could have won the game for San Jose.
Niemi wasn't super sharp at first, as noted, but with 16 saves in the final 25 minutes before the shootout, he had clamped down well as the game went on. His overall numbers, after the rough start, were very good: a .933 save percentage and a sub-2.00 goals-against average.
But in the shootout, it just wasn't meant to be for the Sharks: Pavelski hit the post in the second round on a shot that would have all but sealed the win for San Jose, and once that happened, perhaps it was inevitable the Sharks would lose.
With the single point on the night, San Jose (10-1-2) still dropped into second place in the Pacific Division. They trial Anaheim by a point, although the Ducks have played two more games than the Sharks have.
Their next game is Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres, also at the SAP Center.