Sharks edge Coyotes to stretch division lead

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - The San Jose Sharks edged the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout on Monday to pull further clear at the top of the Pacific Division.

Evgeni Nabokov made 31 saves and denied the visitors a goal in the shootout as the Sharks (24-8-7) stretched out to a four-point divisional advantage over the second-place Coyotes.

"I thought it was a heck of a game," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told reporters.

"Both goaltenders showed why they're Olympians. There were some tremendous saves at both ends. I thought it was a very intense game. It was a good game for us to play in."

San Jose grabbed an early 2-0 lead behind goals from Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski, who converted a shorthanded score at 5:17 in the second period as well as the lone strike and game-winner in the shootout.

Phoenix (24-13-3) recovered with a second-period charge that included goals by Petr Prucha and Shane Doan, but were unable to add to the tally.

In the shootout, Pavelski scored on his team's first attempt while the Coyotes' Peter Mueller and Radim Vrbata could not convert chances and the game ended when Robert Lang's shot was saved.

Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 36 saves, including 19 stops in the third period to keep the visitors in contention.

"It was a great game, a fun game," Bryzgalov said.

"There were lots of scoring chances for both sides. We were playing against a good team and that's what you're going to see, a good game."

The surprising Coyotes, who have encountered financial issues while failing to reach the playoffs in six straight seasons, had beaten San Jose in two previous meetings.

The Sharks, who lead the Western Conference in goals scored have won five straight games.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)