- Associated Press - Sunday, December 23, 2018

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Alex Galchenyuk finally broke out of a prolonged slump, and the Arizona Coyotes are suddenly making strides.

Galchenyuk scored two goals in regulation plus the only one in a shootout as Arizona defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Sunday.

Acquired in a June trade with Montreal for Max Domi, Galchenyuk hadn’t scored in 16 games and had just three goals all season going into the game.

But the 24-year-old center, drafted third overall in 2012, got his first goal since Nov. 11 when he flicked a backhand past Sharks goalie Aaron Dell on a breakaway at 15:31 of the first period. Galchenyuk then scored on a 5-on-3 power play to snap a 1-all tie at 12:21 of the second.

“It was frustrating without scoring for such a long period of time, trying to find my game,” Galchenyuk said. “I knew sooner or later it was going to come. Stick to it, keep working.”

Galchenyuk also scored on Arizona’s first chance in the shootout.

“The second I touched the puck I knew what I was going to do,” he said. “I’m happy.”

Conor Garland also scored to help the Coyotes win their second consecutive game after losing three straight and seven of eight. Darcy Kuemper made 35 saves for Arizona.

Tomas Hertl scored twice and Tim Heed had a goal for San Jose, which lost its third straight after winning a season-high five in a row.

Kuemper turned back shootout attempts by Joe Thornton, Hertl and Logan Couture.

“They’re a great team,” Kuemper said. “They had a big push in their own building. I don’t know if we really held them at bay. They tied it up, but we were able to kind of hit the brakes after that happened and keep ourselves in it and then get a big shootout win.”

Hertl recovered the puck behind the net and scored on a wraparound to tie it 3-all at 13:53 of the third. Hertl also scored early in the third to even the game at 2 before Garland gave the Coyotes a 3-2 advantage at 6:06.

Heed scored on the power play in the first period, his first goal of the season in his third game for San Jose.

Dell turned back 23 shots.

“We found a way to get a point,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “Disappointed we didn’t get two. I feel like the break’s coming at the right time. I think it’s been a tough month for us, (with the) travel. I feel like our team’s running on fumes a little bit. The tank’s a little empty and we’ve had to dig deep the last two nights to scratch out a couple of points.”

NOTES: Sharks D Erik Karlsson was handed a two-game suspension by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner on Saturday. Heed took Karlsson’s spot in the lineup. … Thornton got his 1,041st assist on Heed’s goal, passing Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for 10th place on the NHL’s career list.


Coyotes: At the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.


More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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