Series (Game 3 of 5)

Arizona leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 30th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 3rd
Game 3: Monday, January 20th
Game 4: Saturday, March 8th
Game 5: Sunday, April 6th

Sharks 1

(16-20-4, 42 pts)

Coyotes 3

(16-20-4, 43 pts)

9:00 PM ET, January 20, 2003

US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona

1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 01
ARI 2 0 13

D. Briere (Coyotes - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Johnson (Coyotes - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

R. Abid (Coyotes - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Phoenix goalie hadn't won in NHL since March 2000

PHOENIX (AP) -- Zac Bierk's long wait for an NHL victory ended after nearly two years.

Bierk made 26 saves, and Daniel Briere scored twice to lead the Phoenix Coyotes over the San Jose Sharks 3-1 Monday night.

Bierk, who started the season with Springfield of the AHL, is 1-3-1 in six appearances for Phoenix. Bierk has given up seven goals on the season but his last NHL victory was March 30, 2000 while with Tampa Bay.

''When was that, in the '80s?'' Bierk said. ''Since I've been up here, I haven't been doubting myself. I've been in three different leagues since my last win. To finally get up here and get that proverbial monkey off my back is pretty good.''

Phoenix coach Bob Francis also was relieved.

''I know the guys are feeling extremely happy for Zac,'' Francis said. ''Every game he's played, he's given us an opportunity to win. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to score for him, so it was long overdue for Zac.''

Jeff Taffe also scored for Phoenix, which snapped a six-game winless streak (0-4-1-1). Owen Nolan scored for San Jose, 1-5-2-1 in January.

''We had a number of scoring chances and territorial advantage and pressing like heck, and Zac Bierk made a lot of saves and then we didn't shoot smart a few times, too,'' San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. ''We're pressing and it shows. I'm a little disappointed we couldn't fire up a little more.''

Sharks captain Owen Nolan said the team just needs to keep working.

''It's not for a lack of caring,'' Nolan said. ''We have to rely on each other as a team and each man do his job and depend on each other and get the job done.''

Briere gave Phoenix a 1-0 lead 1:27 into the game. Mike Johnson fired a shot from the top of the right circle. Evgeni Nabokov made the save but gave up the rebound to Briere, who was camped just left of the crease.

''All year, it seems we are struggling with our start and most of the time when we get off to an early start, we play a good game,'' Briere said. ''It gave us momentum.''

Phoenix went up 2-0 at 8:53 of the first period on Taffe's goal. Branko Radivojevic centered a pass from behind the net to Taffe, who was at the top of the crease.

Nolan made it 2-1 at 11:42 of the first when he shot the puck between the legs of Bierk after driving to the net.

Briere scored his second goal 1:05 into the third period off another Johnson assist. Johnson bounced the puck off the boards behind the net to Briere, just right of the net.

The victory moved Phoenix out of last place in the Pacific Division and dropped the Sharks into the cellar.

Game notes

The Coyotes scored five goals in their previous six games. ... San Jose is 9-4 in its past 13 games against Phoenix and 25-25-5-2 lifetime against the franchise. ... Coyotes left wing Brad May assisted on Taffe's goal for his first point this season. He missed the first 44 games following shoulder surgery.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press