GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27:  Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates with the puck during the first period of the NHL game against the Phoenix
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates with the puck during the first period of the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on December 27, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) ( Christian Petersen )

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The rust was there, just as everyone thought it might be after a three-day Christmas break.

But the Sharks eventually found their legs Friday night and left the desert only 14 hours after they arrived with a third consecutive shootout victory, this one a 4-3 decision over the Phoenix Coyotes.

And just as they had against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau proved to be the difference with goals in the one-on-one competition.

"Obviously we would like to finish it earlier," Marleau said after the Sharks lost a third-period, one-goal lead. "But as long as we're getting that other point we're pretty happy."

Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker did tally in the shootout, but Antti Niemi stopped Radim Vrbata and Oliver Ekman-Larsson to preserve the win as the Sharks improved their overall shootout record to 6-5 after being 1-4 at one point.

"The same guys that were missing are now scoring," McLellan said. "Hopefully it stays that way, but it can ebb and flow throughout the season, team to team, goalie to goalie."

Joe Pavelski, Marleau and Brent Burns provided the San Jose goals in regulation. David Moss scored twice for Phoenix, and Vrbata notched one.

Because of the mandatory three-day break, the Sharks flew to Phoenix early Friday morning rather than their usual routine of arriving the day before a game. McLellan and his players were all aware both teams might be a little off their game at the start.

San Jose did stumble out of the gate, and that enabled the Coyotes to take a 1-0 lead at 7:43 of the first period when a giveaway by Matt Nieto ended up on Moss' stick and his shot deflected into Sharks net off Brad Stuart.

The Sharks amped up their game by the second period, though, and tied the game at 9:56 when Pavelski took a pass from Joe Thornton and beat Phoenix's nemesis netminder Mike Smith. The goal was Pavelski's third in the three games since he replaced injured Tomas Hertl on a line with Thornton and Burns.

"They're easy to play with -- good players, big bodies," Pavelski said of his linemates. "They get a lot of pucks back, and they're easy to read off of. So far it's been pretty good."

The Coyotes regained the lead only 68 seconds later, however, when Moss scored his second of the game, this time as the one doing the tipping on a shot by Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko.

Marleau's team-leading 17th goal of the season with just five seconds left on a San Jose power play tied it up again at 13:13 of the second period. Midway though the third, the Sharks took their first lead of the game at 3-2 when Pavelski fed the puck to Burns in the slot, and he one-timed it.

Phoenix wasn't finished, however, as Vrbata scored a power-play goal at 13:35 with Tommy Wingels in the penalty box after an interference call he questioned on the ice.

Overall, the Sharks were more focused on their ability to get back into the game than their early performance.

"On the road it's easy to let games get away on you, and you have to have the will to keep fighting through it," McLellan said, "and I thought tonight our guys did a good job."

  • Veteran forward Marty Havlat did not join his teammates for the flight to Phoenix because of a lower-body injury, McLellan said. It was the second game that Havlat missed because of the unspecified problem.

  • Andrew Desjardins earned a decision over Coyote center Kyle Chipchura in a first-period fight on the faceoff after Phoenix's first goal.

    SUNDAY'S GAME

    Anaheim (27-7-5) at Sharks
    (24-8-6), 7:30 p.m. CSNCA