Arizona got off to a slow start before coming to life late in a shootout loss to San Jose on Thursday night. The Coyotes pressured the Sharks from the start Saturday, scoring four goals in the opening two periods.
Kessel, who struggled with injuries in his first season in the desert, scored the tying goal in the closing seconds of the opener and had goals in each of the first two periods Saturday.
San Jose won the opener of the two-game opening series 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night. In that game, the Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Arizona scored two goals in the final 3:30 — one by Kessel with 3.2 seconds left — to force overtime.
San Jose went up early again in the rematch, scoring on a power play 3 1/2 minutes in when Donato tipped a shot by Timo Meier.
Kessel didn’t wait as long for the tying goal, scoring on a backhanded shot on a power play midway through the first period. Hayton then gave the Coyotes their first lead of the season, beating Jones stick side on a shot that hit the crossbar.
Meier tied it less than two minutes later when his cross caromed off a skate out front past Raanta late in the period.
Kessel scored again in the second period, tipping a shot by Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the right circle. Chychrun made it 4-2 with a shot from above the left circle Martin had trouble seeing through traffic.
Keller, who scored the first of Arizona’s two late goals Thursday, gave the Coyotes a three-goal lead by scoring on a rebound early in the third period.
San Jose: Plays the first of two games at St. Louis on Monday.
Arizona is at Vegas on Monday for the first of four straight games against the Golden Knights.
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